“He erected the pillars in the front of the temple, one to the south and one to the north. The one to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz.”
2 Ch. 3:13
After days of traveling to the holy city to observe the sacred holiday, pilgrims could see the two towering pillars before the temple from afar, telling them their destination was in sight and their hearts were greatly encouraged. They sounded the names of the pillars as if calling their old friends, and with the sounding of the name joy and excitement rushed into their hearts. Yes, they had finally arrived at the place which they could only envision or see in their dreams over the year, and they could almost sense the spirit of the place and the presence of the Lord seemed to be permeating the dry desert air.
Why did Solomon even bother to name the pillars he erected, as if they were his children, Jakin and Boaz, which might have meant “he establishes strength,” in their language. In fact, they might have been popular names people named their newborns. “Jakin and Boaz, here we come, old friends,” they might have shouted for joy at the sight of the two grand pillars.
The temple was grand and aloof, too solemn and way too dignified to be called by a personal name; yet the personalized pillars appeared to familiarize the holy temple and God’s presence became less of a frightening thing.
“When are you going to visit Jakin and Boaz,” people might have asked one another casually, as if referring to the visitation of old friends. Did J&B ever become the nickname of the holy temple? We can only speculate. Yet one thing was for sure, though, people must have had other intimate names when they referred to the house of the Lord.
A certain kind of feeling that is hard to describe in words is evoked when people happen to call me by my nickname. As a matter of fact, the name that my mother used to call me has forever vanished with my mother’s passing. I have been known as “Robert” since I married into another culture and English has become my primary language. My Chinese name has been lost for the most part. I often do a double take when “Wan Chung,” my Chinese name, is uttered.
Indeed, the presence of the Lord was being ushered down to earth by the erection of the holy temple, which was a kind of incarnation, really. The naming of the two pillars in front of the holy temple appeared to bring the Lord down to his people even farther.
Now we know why Emmanuel had a personal name, and instead of addressing the Heavenly Father in our prayer, we often invoke the name of Jesus. It does seem much more natural that way, doesn’t it?