The Temple that Solomon built to honor YHVH featured two huge pillars flanking the front door. Their description is considered boring, puzzling and empty of spiritual content. Actually, they tell us how God will ignite Israel’s national resurrection… if we conform to His plan.
Solomon commissioned Hiram, a renowned artisan from the tribe of Naphtali, to create two gigantic columns for God’s House. Made of cast bronze, they stood like sentinels on either side of the Temple doorway, possibly in an entry hall (Heb: le-ulam ha-heichal). The capitals topping these pillars were elaborately decorated: bowl-shaped bronze lilies, each one adorned with 200 pomegranates in two rows, and seven “nets of network and twisted threads of chain-work.” Together with their massive crowns, the two pillars reached a height of 23 cubits (34.5 ft / 10.5 m) and measured 12 cubits (18 ft / 5.5 m) around the waist.
The account in 1 Kings (7:15-22, 41-42) describes them in such detail
that we should be asking why.
That’s only the beginning of the mystery. As monster-pillars dwarfing the worshipers, they were certainly strong enough to hold up a roof. Yet Scripture doesn’t record anything being built on them. Solomon erected these twin monuments by the Temple doors as free-standing structures. Their purpose was apparently to illustrate something.
What’s more, Solomon gave them unique identities, as though they were his sons. The one on the right was erected first, “and he called its name Yachin;” then the pillar on the left, “and he called its name Boaz.” No explanation why.
These Pillars were carried away by the Babylonians (Jer. 52:17, 2 Kings 25:13), and they were not repeated in the second Temple. Thus, even in Yeshua’s day no one knew exactly what Yachin and Boaz had looked like, or even whether they had stood inside or outside the door (1 Kings 7:21: “the hall of the sanctuary”; 2 Chron. 3:15: “before the house”). Modern sketches show a variety of guesses.
It’s no wonder the Two Pillars have fascinated rabbis, churchmen and even occultists – especially those names. Like all Hebrew names, these are not random but significant. First came Yachin: “He will establish (or prepare).” Then Boaz: “Strong (or mighty) in Him.” But among the many suggested meanings and morals derived from them, no one commented on the fact that Solomon’s chosen names were unfinished thoughts. “He/Him” is obviously YHVH. “He will prepare” – what? “Strong in Him” describes who?
To make things more interesting, the last eyewitness reports of these Pillars are curiously worded. The books of Jeremiah and 2 Kings describe them being plundered by the Babylonians. Whereas the bronze wash-basin and carts (located in the court) were described as “in” the House of YHVH, the Pillars (closer to the House) were “for” or “belonging to” the House (Jer. 52:17) – and in 2 Kings 25:13 they literally were “the House of YHVH”.
English translators smoothed away the awkwardness by using the word “in” for both passages. But we know from Yeshua’s testimony (Matt. 5:18) that in the Law and Prophets, every letter of every word matters. Therefore, these oddities are not mistakes; they are hints of deeper truth. Perhaps Paul’s description (1 Tim. 3:15) of the living Household of God as “the pillar and support of the truth” was based on that supposed scribal error in 2 Kings 25.
What is often missed is that the Pillar designs originated with King David
under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
We read that David “gave his son Solomon the pattern… for all he had in the Spirit with him, for the courts of the house of YHVH…” (1 Chron. 28:11-12). In fact, David himself testifies that he received it from God: “Everything is in writing from the hand of YHVH upon me, to comprehend all the works of the pattern.” (v.19, literal Hebrew) The design of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and its furnishings also followed a “pattern” that God had shown to Moses “in the mountain” (Exod. 25:40).
Since Solomon was granted a measure of wisdom not seen on the earth before or since (1 Kings 3:12), we can assume that naming these Pillars was not a whim. It was a response to the Spirit’s revelation. They are prophetic statements agreed on by a father and son who were both physical and spiritual forerunners of the Messiah. But David and Solomon were prompted by the Spirit to veil the meaning with pregnant hints.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” (Prov. 25:2) As a royal priesthood, we can understand the Pillars better by searching for echoes elsewhere in Scripture.
Like everything in the Hebrew Scriptures, these twin guardians at the door to God’s House can have multiple layers of meaning. The leading apostles were known as “pillars” (Gal. 2:9). Solomon’s columns were identical and rather plain compared to their capitals, reminding us that the “greatness” of leadership belongs to God (2 Cor. 4:7). The capitals were loaded with spiritual symbols: the “lily” (purity and beauty – Song 2:2, 6:3) seed-packed “pomegranates” (abundant fruitfulness – John 15:16) and “nets of network” with seven “threads of chain-work” (complete, interlocking unity – Eph. 4:16). They were called koterot, a word related to keter, or “crown”. This connects to Yeshua’s promise of a permanent place in God’s eternal House for those “pillars” who kept their “crowns” (Rev. 3:11–12). However, we focus here on the names of the original Pillars as prophecies about Israel’s national redemption.
What of Yachin, “He will establish”? In Proverbs 16:9, we see that YHVH “will establish” (Yachin) the steps of the man whose heart considers his (or His) way. The righteous man is guaranteed a secure walk because “the Law of his God is in his heart” (Psa. 37:31). This is part of our inheritance in the New Covenant (Jer .31:33 – v.32 in Heb). Such personalized guidance from Moses and the Prophets is not only the “tutor” commissioned to steer us to Messiah (Gal. 3:24), but the manual for “training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16) as we walk in Messiah.
Thus, the first Pillar testifies that “God will prepare/establish” (Yachin) His spiritual House
through the proper use of His Law by those who are in Messiah.
The Law is also a source of “wonders” for those whose eyes God will open (Psa. 119:18). The word (nifla’ot) is used for Divine demonstrations of power (Ex.3:20, Psa. 136:4, and more). That brings us to Boaz, “Strong in Him”. David praises YHVH: “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You.” (Psa. 84:5 – v.6 in Heb) Yet elsewhere he identifies the “strong in Him” as babies and nursing infants, who will speak to God’s enemies and silence them (Psa. 8:2 – v.3 in Heb). Since physical babies can barely speak at all, he meant spiritual infants (Matt .11:25). The source of that irresistible strength is the Holy Spirit speaking through them, just as Yeshua also promised (Matt. 10:20).
David attributed this supernatural strength to God working through Messiah (Psa. 28:8). So did the Torah-trained apostle, Paul. He preferred to remain weak by worldly standards, relying on nothing but the crucified Messiah, to bring a “demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:2–5)
Therefore, the second Pillar testifies that being “strong in Him” (Boaz) means demonstrating His Power as the foundation for God’s Holy House.
It’s informative that the Two Pillars were absent from the second Temple, while Israel was still scattered among the nations. They reappear in the Temple shown to Ezekiel, one not yet built. Although nameless, they return to their former places by the doorposts of the House, “one on this side, and one on this side.” (Ezek. 40:49) Therefore, the Pillars were not just prophetic of Yeshua’s earthly ministry; they still have a message for regathered Israel, in the context of the Last Days.
For Israel’s national salvation, both Pillars must be restored
to their place at the entrance to God’s spiritual House.
Many throughout the Body of Messiah today embrace one or the other of these two Pillars as valid spiritual truth. Some are zealous for Torah study and practice; others are passionate for the power of the Spirit. One Pillar, however, is not enough.
Those who deny the power of the Holy Spirit cannot properly handle God’s Law – for that Law can only be satisfied by walking in the Spirit (Rom. 8:4). And the same Spirit who gives wisdom, faith and teaching gifts also distributes all the other gifts, “just as He wills” (1 Cor. 12:4–12). If we want to learn and teach Torah like the apostles did, we must approach it as they did: serving God by obeying His Law “in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” (Rom. 7:6)
Those who deny the relevance of the Law of Moses cannot fully operate in the power of the Spirit – for that Law is itself spiritual (Rom. 7:14). Paul, the alleged champion of those who claim the Law was cancelled, was determined to prove that “there is nothing to” this rumor about him (Acts 21:24). By the Holy Spirit he warned “all the churches” against teaching Jewish saints to abandon “the commandments of God” that apply to them (1 Cor. 7:17–20). Like the Jerusalem apostles, Paul believed that to “walk orderly” for Jewish disciples meant to keep the Law of Moses… including Jewish customs legitimately derived from it (Acts 21:23–24). For the Gentiles, freedom from Jewish commandments was indeed declared (v.25); yet this also was distilled from a Spirit-guided reading of the Prophets (Acts 15:14–29).
To clear the way for restoring the Two Pillars,
we must first demolish unauthorized structures in His House.
The Temple plan shown to Ezekiel is reserved expressly for repentant Israel (Ezek. 43:11), the remnant that is ready to dismantle the false “threshold”, “doorpost” and “wall” (v.8) that were brought into God’s House. These offensive manmade structures still exist in modern Judaism and the Church, where refusal to hear God’s Voice has resulted in misuse of both the Torah and the Spirit, producing spiritual death and defilement, bringing reproach on His Name. Only love of the Truth will make us strong enough to acknowledge where (and why) we in the Messianic community have adopted unscriptural / unspiritual ways of managing God’s holy House.
Like Solomon’s temple, God’s glory visibly enters the temple Ezekiel saw (Ezek .43:4-5). But unlike either of the previous temples, this House is open only to those who have undergone both the physical and spiritual circumcisions (Ezek.44:9). Consider also the witness of the “Joshua generation”: although they already obeyed God’s Voice faithfully, before they could possess the Promised Land they had to undergo circumcision “the second time” in order to “roll away the reproach” (Josh. 5:2–9) of being indistinguishable from the nations.
By this we know that God’s restoration of Israel in the Last Days will include
the spiritual realities represented by both Yachin and Boaz.
Far from being in competition, Law and Spirit are meant to confirm and support each other. Faithfulness to the Law of Moses is a direct work of the indwelling Holy Spirit on Jewish hearts (Ezek. 36:27). These twin supports were in fact promised in the Law itself, where the first mention of the New Covenant appears (Deut. 30:4–8): the circumcised heart will gladly embrace “all His commandments which I command you today.” It only remains for the spiritual priests among us to redefine true Torah, to “teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” (Ezek. 44:23).
Based on the order of Israel’s salvation in Deut. 30 and Ezek. 36, we can recognize that we are now in the transition stage between the physical and spiritual restorations.
God is about to set up His Two Pillars at the door of His living Temple, as a guide and guard to all who would enter. He is calling for the “Hirams” among His people: those He has “filled with wisdom and understanding and skill” for this work (1 Kings 7:14). If your heart is hearing His call, we at Restorers of Zion invite you to join us in restoring these Two Pillars to the Lord’s spiritual House.
Go here to see our current outline of the principles that constitute a personal commitment to these Two Pillars, which together will bring the full power of God’s Kingdom to Israel.
NOTE to readers who live in Israel:
If you are interested in meeting personally to study these principles, we are beginning a small-group workshop to explore the concepts represented by Yachin and Boaz, with the goal of applying them.
The first workshop, Lord willing, will take place in September. For more details, contact Arye Powlison, at livingwordarye [at] gmail.com.