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The Bible doesn't include extraneous, meaningless information, and names have great significance in the Old Testament. 2 Chronicles 3:17 records,

[Solomon] set up the two pillars at the entrance of the Temple, one to the south of the entrance and the other to the north. He named the one on the south Jakin, and the one on the north Boaz. (NLT)

So what is the significance of these names? Is there a connection to the Boaz mentioned in the Book of Ruth? Do the names have a connection to the directions of the compass the pillars are associated with?

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The names came up in The Da Vinci Code and I assumed it was the same pseudo-history as the rest of it. I guess I was wrong... –  Jon Ericson Jul 3 '12 at 1:16
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According to strong’s definition, Yakin יָכִין means He will establish. While Boaz who was an ancestor of David means quickness בֹּ֫עַז . However as the meaning of Boaz is uncertain in Hebrew it would be better to follow the Septuagint where according to Barne’s Notes on the Bible in the margin reference is translated Boaz Ἰσχύς as ‘Strength.’ “The meaning was probably "God will establish in strength" (i. e. firmly) the temple and the religion connected with it.” (Barnes' Notes)

In Revelation we find an allusion to a pillar

Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God (Revelation 3:12)

Also in 1 Timothy 3:15 the church is called “the pillar and foundation of the truth” not unlike Christ’s own words when He said that upon the rock of faith in Him (as represented by Peter’s confession) he would build his church that the gates of hell could not prevail against. (Mathew 16:18)

So we further have the idea of an unmovable church fully established in grace by faith in Messiah, who is the ‘truth’ or a pillar of truth extending from heaven down to earth. Christ Himself is that pillar of truth, and the church is also, on account of it as being his extended body on earth. This seems to be the meaning of these two pillars. Having two of them, rather than one, might be representing the dual nature of Messiah in that by his flesh He was established into his ministry, and by His divinity He was strong to perform it. This does seem to also be supported by the very nature of the church that is a 'pillar', for the church is a pillar only because it is a 'temple' of God, or his house. The principle temple, intended is the body of Christ who was the temple of God through the incarnation. This is why Jesus referred to Himself as the walking temple when he said:

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." (NIV John 2:19)

In any event, regardless of how you entered, turning left, or turning right, this symbol of strength was weighted heavily upon the dust before you.


In summary these two pillars, ‘established in strength’ represent the God-Man by whom, as a pillar of truth, the entire universal church is established and enabled to perform the entire rule of worship for which that church was built. From the very beginning in the ancient Hebrew temple, to the invisible and unmovable church of today and tomorrow, we sing praises to our God forever and ever. The very gates of hell can’t prevail against us.


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I don't want to toot my own horn or beg for votes, but the voting system is an important part of this site, and so I would encourage you to Vote Early, Vote Often. In your short time on this site you have quickly become one of my favorite answerers because of the quality and Christology of your posts. However, as far as I am able to tell you haven't been doing much upvoting. If you can find the question compelling enough to make such a good answer to it, maybe you ought to upvote it. And anyway, +1... –  Kazark Jul 4 '12 at 16:27
    
@Kazark Thanks for the reminder. I forget to vote on questions too. You do so much to edit answers just in formatting, there should be a way to vote on those too –  Bob Jones Jul 5 '12 at 17:42
    
If you post a "style guide" I will try to learn it so you don't have so much grunt work to do. –  Bob Jones Jul 5 '12 at 17:43
    
When there are two things, one is earthly and the other heavenly. Quickness is related to his coming quickly to his house. He came quickly in strength and cleansed the temple as a symbol of him coming quickly to the world to redeem it. –  Bob Jones Jul 5 '12 at 17:49
    
If the word truly means strength, then the pillars are interpreted as "heavenly or divine strength and earthly strength". Strength in heaven and on earth. –  Bob Jones Jul 5 '12 at 17:50
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These answers are very good but there is more. Here are some further insights from mystical traditions:

Looking at the Temple as symbolic of the physical body, the three chambers being abdomen, chest and head, we can see that before the Temple, as a foundation, there are indeed, two pillars. These pillars have been associated with Sun and Moon, as a dual polarity. The pillars, North and South, also represent the tropics of Cancer (north) and Capricorn (south). The Sun reaching these two tropics in its annual transit marks the Summer and Winter Solstices around June 21 and December 23. In a certain tradition it is said that Hiram assembled his workers and sent them to their tasks before the North Pillar, and paid them for their work before the South Pillar. This seasonal reference would not be lost to an agricultural or even pastoral people.

Concerning those two trees in Paradise, the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, or right and wrong, represents Self Consciousness. There can be no moral judgment until a being has awareness of self, but once they do, making choices inevitably follows. But in attaining this awareness, the simple innocence of less developed animals, living for the moment without a care in pursuit of their own pleasure, the Garden of Eden, is lost.
The Tree of Life represents the spiritually awakened soul, called variously Cosmic Consciousness, Enlightenment, Self Actualization, etc. The guardian of this Tree has a fiery sword because in Biblical symbolism fire represents purifying, or refining. Such references can be found throughout the Bible.
To reach the Higher Knowledge and reunion with the Father, it is necessary to purge, or refine, the personality. Only the pure Soul can realize the Creator's presence.

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Hi Rachael. I'm not sure I track with what you are saying here. Can you point me to the mystical traditions you are talking about? Are they from Kabbalah? –  Jon Ericson Mar 5 '13 at 17:36
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The two pillars are priest and king. They go back to the two trees in Eden (and perhaps the bronze would have turned green over time). The first tree is obedience to God (passivity towards heaven) and the second is the resulting kingly authority (activity towards earth as mediator for God).

Priests were anointed at Jachin and kings at Boaz. Jachin is the priestly foundation (establishment) and Boaz is the kingly strength (Boaz was a "mighty man").

We can trace this back even further to the forming and filling in Genesis 1, a pattern which occurs right through the Bible.

Between the two pillars is the prophet, who unites and presides over priest and king. This threefold ministry is replicated in the holy place, where Jachin is the table of bread, Boaz is the lampstand of the law, and the wisdom of the elders is the fragrant incense altar.

Finally, the Tabernacle is humaniform. It was a mobile tent "flying" in heaven if you like. Once it became Solomon's Temple, it was fixed, and thus had two bronze legs, pillars of fire, rooted to the Land as trees of righteousness. We see a reference to this in Revelation, where the angel stands upon the Land (as priest) and Gentile sea (as king), uniting them as a prophet.

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