Joseph Smith dedicated the Kirtland Temple on March 27, 1836 (section 109), with another dedicatory session on March 31. At these dedications and on April 3, heavenly beings appeared at the temple, blessing the Saints and delivering keys of the priesthood.
“Opening the Heavens: The Restoration of Temple Keys and Power,” Steven C. Harper, from Opening the Heavens: Account of Divine Manifestations, 1820-1844, ed. John W. Welch
This free PDF (click on the link to “The Restoration of the Temple Keys and Powers”) contains six eyewitness accounts of the dedication ceremonies and the divine appearances that followed. The Saints were blessed with an outpouring of the Spirit and seeing the fulfilment of prophecy. The documents are from Joseph Smith, Benjamin Brown, Oliver Cowdery, Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, and Stephen Post.
“‘An Angel or Rather the Savior’ at the Kirtland Temple Dedication: The Vision of Frederick G. Williams,” Frederick G. Williams, BYU Studies, Vol. 56, no. 1
At the Kirtland Temple dedication on March 27, 1836, President Frederick G. Williams testified that he saw a “holy angel” enter the temple during the opening prayer. Nine witnesses wrote about the event, and even though details in their records conflict, it is evident that the angel Williams had seen was the Savior. The vision fulfilled prophecy about the members of the First Presidency each becoming a witness of the Savior.
“Joseph Smith and the Kirtland Temple, 1836,” Steven C. Harper, Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer
The backstory of Section 88: “In response to section 88’s command for the Saints to build a house of God, call a solemn assembly in it, and present themselves there sanctified in order to enter the Lord’s presence, the Saints were obedient. They built the Kirtland Temple, the first in this last dispensation, and entered, both symbolically and literally, into the presence of the Lord.”
“A House for Our God,” Lisa Olsen Tait, Brent Rogers, Revelations in Context
Building the Kirtland Temple consumed the Saints’ financial and time resources, but they did it because of the Lord’s commandments to build Zion.
“Six Things to Remember about the Kirtland Temple,” history.lds.org
The temple fulfilled specific purposes outlined in D&C 88.