1 KINGS 6
14 So Solomon built the house, and finished it.
It may be remarked here, that in Solomon's building there were three courts; first, the outmost court of all, into which the Gentiles might enter; next, the Court of Israel, for native Israelites, if clean according to the law, otherwise admission was denied even to them.
Between these two courts, there was a "middle wall of partition," upon which were notices forbidding Gentiles to pass beyond it on pain of death; and, third, the Court of the Priests, where the brazen altar of burnt-offerings, and the brazen laver for washings, stood, and where the priests and Levites exercised their ministry.
Israelites, who offered sacrifices, might bring their victims to the inner part of this court, but could not pass a certain separation which divided it; they withdrew as soon as they had delivered their sacrifices and offerings to the priest, or had made their confession, with laying their hand upon the head of the victim, if it were a sin-offering.
Beyond the Court of the Priests was the temple proper, subdivided within into the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place, or Nave. These two Holies were divided from each other by the Veil or curtain. In the Holy Place were the golden altar of incense, the show-bread table, and the seven-branched lightstand, in whose seven burners was consumed the light-giving golden oil of olives.
Into this place, the priests, if purified by blood and water, and invested with the holy garments, might enter at all times; but were forbidden to enter into the Most Holy beyond the Veil. Into this, the Aaronic High Priest alone could enter, but not at all times, nor without blood, on pain of death.
When within the nave, he stood, as "the angel stood" (xi. 1), before the throne of Yahweh, whose power dwelt in a cloud between the Cherubim, made of the Olive Tree, and overlaid with pure gold; and above the propitiatory, or mercy-seat, or coverlid of the ark, styled the Ark of the Covenant, because it was a chest containing the stone tables of the law, cut and engraved in heaven, and delivered thence by angels to Moses on the mount.
Within were also contained the pot of manna, the bread that came down from heaven, and Aaron's dead rod that budded into life and bore fruit. Such was "the House made with hands" -- an interesting fabric of the Mosaic parable foreshadowing certain "things of the kingdom of the Deity, and of the name of Jesus Christ."