Untold aeons ago, a spark of light shot forth from the heavens to become the first speck of matter in that region of space now known as earth. From that minute particle--the Foundation Stone (even shetiyya)--grew our world. Three thousand years ago, that stone served as the base for the Temple of Solomon, later the Temple of Zerubbabel, and later still Herod’s Temple. Today it is enclosed by the Muslim shrine the Dome of the Rock.
The plans and materials for Solomon’s Temple were collected by his father, David, warrior king of the Jews. The Temple housed the golden Ark of the Covenant, the powerful home of the two Tablets of the Law carved directly by the hand of God when He met with Moses on Mount Sinai. The Ark had remained in the Tabernacle, an elaborately constructed ritual tent, for some four hundred years before it found its resting place in the Holy of Holies of the Temple.
The Temple Mount, Mount Moriah, in Jerusalem is regarded as a holy place by the three great monotheistic faiths of the descendants of Abraham--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It was on Mount Moriah that God tested Abraham’s faith by commanding him to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, and which He repeatedly sanctified throughout the Bible as His dwelling place on earth; here where Jesus spoke with the Rabbis as a child, later ejected the moneychangers, then preached his reformation of the severity of the monotheism of his forebears; and here, where six centuries later, Muhammad met with Moses and Jesus in a vision before ascending on his fiery steed through the heavens. There are traditions that identify the Temple Mount as the location of the Garden of Eden.
The site of Solomon’s Temple became the headquarters of the divine warriors of the Crusades, the Knights Templar, sworn to protect the Holy City of their faith. Countless legends have come down through the centuries about the Order’s relation to the site and the secrets they may have uncovered there. Whatever truth such legends may or may not have, what is absolutely true is that the Bible and the Temple were the beating heart that animated the Knights Templar as they risked their lives to defend the Holy Land.
The building of the Temple of Solomon is the founding myth of Freemasonry. The craftsmen directed by Master Mason Hiram Abiff labored to erect the perfectly proportioned mystical edifice that would house and celebrate the presence of the Lord. Who else but the most skilled and spiritual artisan/adepts could be entrusted with such a task? Each and every Freemason has walked between the pillars of Solomon’s Temple on his path to Truth.
The Temple of Solomon remains as important today as the day it was completed in 957 bce. It is a fundamental component of the spiritual and religious yearnings of millions of people and has been the symbolic focus of the teachings of esoteric societies for three thousand years.
And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus, 25:8)
The act of creation proceeds as unity manifests itself in duality. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. The Temple exists because of this division. It is the separation of sacred and profane, the sacrifice of space, effort, and resources to a greater yet invisible purpose. It signifies the distillation of the spiritual aspiration from the realm of the physical body. It is the manifestation of faith, the materialization of intention, the dedication of oneself and one’s community to the service and celebration of the divine. It is the Word made Flesh.
The story of the Temple of Solomon begins in the Garden of Eden. For within the enclosed sacred space of the Garden, the first couple walked with God in a state of undivided unity. That period of bliss came to an end at the Fall, when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden and prevented from returning by armed cherubim guarding the entrance. Since the Fall, the reestablishment of the unity between God and man may be called the central theme of human existence. It is the underlying goal of the entire biblical narrative that follows Eden. It was pursued each time an altar was built, the Tabernacle moved, the Temple completed.
The integration of heaven and earth that remains to be achieved enjoys a most glorious and profound distinction from that of the Garden. This time we enter the Lord’s presence as fully conscious beings--having eaten of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil--free to choose acceptance of, and surrender to, the Infinite.
Long after the closing of Eden and the destruction of the Flood, the Tabernacle was built on the plan communicated to Moses by God. It was designed as the central place of worship for the nomadic tribes of Israel as they walked through the desert for forty years. The portable Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting was the precedent of the Temple of Solomon, which was built after the land of Israel was settled and Jerusalem conquered and established as David’s capital. Appropriately, the story of Solomon’s Temple ends at the conclusion of the Bible with John’s description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation.
“I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation, 21:1-2)
“I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Revelation, 21:22)
We have at last returned to the Garden of Eden and the immanence of God on earth.
From Ancient Israel to Secret Societies
The Temple of Solomon
From Ancient Israel to Secret Societies
• Examines the Temple of Solomon in the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, and Apocryphal writings
• Explores its role in the founding of Freemasonry, the legends of the Knights Templar, the doctrines of the Kabbalah, and the teachings of Islam
• Explains the sacred nature of the Temple Mount--the site of the Temple of Solomon--and the secrets that may still be hidden there
• Richly illustrated, including many photos and images from rare archives
The spiritual heart of many esoteric societies, the Temple of Solomon was located atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a site venerated by the three great monotheistic religions as the intersection of Divine and human. Built by King Solomon at the peak of ancient Israel’s power, the Temple of Solomon housed the golden Ark of the Covenant in its Holy of Holies, a sacred chamber where one could communicate directly with God. Centuries after the temple’s destruction, the Temple Mount was used as the headquarters for the Knights Templar during the Crusades, and countless legends have come down through the centuries about the secrets they may have uncovered there, including discovery of the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant.
Richly illustrated with biblical and Masonic illustrations, photographs, and ancient and modern paintings--many from rare archives--this book explores the Temple of Solomon in the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, and Apocryphal writings as well as its role in the founding of Freemasonry, the legends of the Knights Templar, the doctrines of the Kabbalah, and Muhammad’s visionary journey from the Temple Mount through the heavens. Seeking to understand the powerful desire of many religions and secret societies to re-create the temple through ritual and prayer, James Wasserman explains why it was built, the magical forces King Solomon may have used in its creation, what its destruction meant for Jews and Christians alike, and why the Knights Templar as well as several modern secret societies named their orders after it. Detailing the sacred architecture of this perfectly proportioned mystical edifice through words and art, the author reveals the Temple of Solomon as the affirmation of God’s presence in human affairs, the spiritual root of Western culture, and an important monument to the Divine nearly forgotten in today’s secular times but sorely needed to bridge the divide between our ancient past and our spiritual future.
- Inner Traditions |
- 384 pages |
- ISBN 9781594772207 |
- November 2011