Temple of Solomon
At the time of King David, just as is true today, painfully few recognized, or would accept, anything which could not immediately be identified by their five physical senses. The desire for something they could see and touch was the basic tendency, which made mankind susceptible to idolatry wherein they confused the images with the reality for which they stood. Because man could see and touch the physical images representing certain deities, or characteristics of deities as they believed them to be, he worshipped these images as the real thing, while forgetting the ideal or “god” which the idols were supposed to represent.
Thus, to cold, insensate wood, stone, and metal idols were attributed powers of that which they only represented. Today, we worship fame, power, fortune, and things . . . . devoting our lives to their acquisition. To us they “symbolize” happiness and security when, in reality, they rarely represent either.
Because from the time of the first civilization, the Elder Brothers have been aware of this failing upon the part of mankind, They brought into use the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, about which you will learn more in a later lesson. It epitomized, in a spectacular manner, the general steps leading to Initiation, so devised and exhibited as to appeal to the proletarian love of the mysterious, yet sufficiently concrete as not to strain their credulity. Through it, They hoped to intrigue and instill within the proletariat on the Continent of Mu the desire for Initiation—to know and have something that would be the envy of their neighbors.
In an effort to accomplish the same purpose in fairly modern times, They influenced King David to lay out the plan for a Temple which, instead of being a temporary, movable structure such as the original Tabernacle had been, was to be a permanent building of superlative beauty. David had access to the Ark and found within it the plans for the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, placed there by the Elder Brothers when it was still on the Continent of Mu. He had a great love for esoteric learning and in his lifetime attained several degrees of Initiation, Therefore, he knew its history, and he also realized that among his people there was a great and growing need for spiritual guidance.
Pondering over the ancient plans, he arrived at the conclusion that a great and beautiful Temple might well be the means of awakening within them a desire for finer, more advanced ideas. Like the Tabernacle, the physical construction would be symbolic of attainment and representative of the coordination man must make between the three sides of his nature in order to bring about that perfect balance so vital to progress on the Path. It would be representative of the building of the Mental Body—the vehicle through which the Ego attains its greatest expression on the earth plane.
Although David was the “channel” through which the Elder Brothers worked to give the idea its original expression, it must be borne in mind that, generally speaking, David was a more or less uneducated peasant who, by sheer genius and understanding of Cosmic Law, elevated himself to the Kingship of the Jews. Therefore, while he could visualize something of the elegance of the Temple, he lacked the technical skill to evolve the perfected and intricate architectural plans necessary to the construction of an imposing edifice such as that of which he dreamed and planned.
This David realized, and he knew, also, that in order to epitomize the ideals for which it was to stand, the Temple must be designed by one idealistically inclined—a Master Artist—and be constructed by a Master Craftsman, one with a high degree of ability along construction lines …. practical and efficient.
The Master Artist proved to be his son, Solomon, who inherited the plans. Solomon was highly educated, so that while David actually drew the original plans for the Temple, it was his son who laid out the many intricate details and finally perfected it. Solomon, however, was a poet and philosopher with none of the technical skill or knowledge essential to such a great undertaking as the actual building of the Temple. Knowing he was deficient in this respect, he consulted a friend, Hiram, King of Tyre, who put him in touch with one who had all the requisite skill and craftsmanship so vitally needed, as well as being thoroughly practical. This was Hiram Abiff, often called the Widow’s Son.
Just as King Solomon might have been termed a Master Artist, so was Hiram Abiff a Master Craftsman, or Mason. The term mason as it was used at that time did not apply only to those who worked with stone and brick, but to all who were highly efficient in the various crafts. It was derived from “muson” used at the time of the building of the first civilization on the Rhu Hut Plains when all who were craftsmen in trades requiring ingenuity and skill were called “musons.”
Once King Solomon and Hiram Abiff had arrived at a definite understanding, Hiram’s first care was the selection of workmen to aid in carrying out the great undertaking. Being highly skilled himself, he drew only those of superior craftsmanship into his employ.
Like all highly skilled craftsmen, Hiram Abiff belonged to a secret organization such as in more recent times are known as guilds. These dated back to the time of the Mukulian Empire when all Citizen workmen were organized into societies according to rating or skill. In order that these workmen might always be able to identify themselves should they travel to other parts of the Empire, they were taught certain secret signs and passwords. So firmly did this practice become grounded that it has persisted through the ages and it is not unusual, even today to find chiefs of aboriginal tribes who possess these same secrets.
By employing only such men as bad been selected for membership in the guilds or societies’ of his day, Hiram knew he would be getting the best and most dependable that could be had. Not only was each highly efficient in his own particular craft, but because of the incalculable value of the rare and priceless, materials being assembled for use in the great project, each had to be of unquestioned integrity and responsibility. Surrounded as they were by many pillaging enemies and others to whom the gold, jewels, and rare woods were treasures to be gained by any means, fair or foul, some method of distinguishing workmen from observers had to be devised. Grips, passwords, another means not unlike those of Mukulian times by which each true Mason could make himself known to his fellows, were inaugurated.
Each apprentice, fellow craftsman, and Master Mason was taught by word of mouth alone those means of identification peculiar to the degree of skill and advancement he merited. When he had attained his greatest advancement, the craftsman was given a special mark, which he placed upon each piece of his handicraft. No two marks were alike, so it was always possible to identify each such Mark Master’s work with the man himself, a distinction most highly prized.
The observing student will note that these three general divisions are broadly analogous to what we term the Initiate, the Adept, and the Master, or Elder Brother. When the first degree of Initiation is conferred upon an individual, he is given a means by which he may identify himself as an Initiate of that degree. This, of course, is known to all other Initiates. On the other hand, although he may recognize all who have attained the first degree of Initiation through this token, he would know nothing of the identification of those who had gone beyond that status. This is given him only as he himself attains greater advancement. Thus, a second degree Initiate would not make himself known to a first degree Initiate just as an Elder Brother would not go about saying He was an Elder Brother.
By nature, a leader and organizer, Hiram formed lodges embodying rituals and oaths and secret knowledge that had been handed down through the ages. Thus, it was that at the time of the building of the Temple, Masonry as it is known today became definitely organized and established by Hiram Abiff.
Until the time when the Temple was nearing completion, there was full accord between Solomon and Hiram. Then, another element was introduced in the form of the Queen of Sheba, a woman of rare beauty and intelligence.
After the submergence of the Continent of Mu, the Beni Yans, one of the original twelve tribes, finally settled in what we now call Abyssinia or Ethiopia. Here they were joined by a substantial number of Opu Yans, another of the tribes, who had first gone to Egypt and later to Ethiopia where they eventually became the ruling class. As you will also learn, the Opu Yans were highly developed mentally and as a result, appreciated both the idealistic and the practical viewpoints. They could not be said to be perfectly balanced, however, because their mentality was over developed.
Of Opu Yan ancestry was the Queen of Sheba, Sheba then being a province of Ethiopia. Mentally developed as she was, news of Solomon’s great wisdom and of the magnificent Temple he was building filled her with such curiosity that she journeyed to Palestine to talk with this great philosopher and see the marvelous Temple for herself.
Previous to this time, the two personalities prominently concerned with the Temple represented the idealistic and the practical tendencies of man. Each personality was of equal development in his particular phase, and consequently, the two formed a balance. Each recognized the value of what the other had to contribute and both were proud to be so intimately associated in this wonderful enterprise.
Each, however, was self-satisfied. Neither consciously realized that, since the contribution of the other was so necessary to the completion of this magnificent and beautiful construction, it might be well for each to seek to acquire the outstanding characteristics of the other. With the advent of the Queen of Sheba, representing mentality, the third essential to perfect balance, entered into the picture.
Enamored of her great beauty and learning, Solomon fell deeply in love with the Queen, and she was greatly impressed with him. However, when she undertook to learn something of the technical details involved in the actual construction of the Temple, she found Solomon woefully lacking in the practicality necessary to converting his ideas into physical reality. Greatly disappointed, she insisted upon talking with the builder, and reluctantly, Solomon brought about the meeting.
Hiram took her to the edifice where she was delighted at the precision and skill displayed in the construction, marveling especially at the fact that there was no sound of hammer, chisel, or saw. Every piece had been so cunningly fashioned before being brought to the Temple that it fitted perfectly into its appointed place in the structure. Never since has man witnessed the exhibition of such consummate skill. Not only did each piece fit where it belonged, but all were interlocking so that once placed in position, neither cement nor nails were required to hold them together.
As her amazement at the skill and beautiful craftsmanship mounted steadily, her interest in Hiram grew apace, and he, in turn, was thoroughly captivated by this wonderful woman who had such a deep appreciation for his technical ability. However, when she discovered that for all his mechanical genius, Hiram lacked both the ability and the desire to acquire the ability to plan as well as to build, she was as disappointed in him as she had been with Solomon.
That she should recognize the ability of both and be torn between them resulted in a personal jealousy that completely disrupted the harmony between the two. Each became envious of the skill in the other, which attracted her attention, and each resolved to show her that he also possessed such an ability.
Determined to prove to her that he was capable of conceiving and designing as well as of constructing, Hiram worked upon plans for what eventually became known as the Brazen Layer. Had this decision been mentally prompted instead of emotionally—that is, with the desire for personal improvement rather than to impress the Queen of Sheba and defy Solomon—matters might have worked out differently.
Though Solomon might have cooperated with Hiram and helped in designing the Laver whereby both could have benefited from the knowledge of the other, he chose, instead, to fly into a rage. This particular Laver had not been part of the original plans for the Temple, and Hiram was presumptuous in trying to improve upon the master design Solomon had laid out.
Observing that Hiram, absorbed with the magnificent Laver, was neglecting his directive duties, Solomon attempted to take over the direction of the workmen, only to be met with rebuffs because they recognized his lack of technical skill. Hiram, who might have asked his men to cooperate with Solomon while he worked on the new project, did nothing, permitting Solomon to blunder along without help. The antagonism between them increased, and instead of each attempting to improve himself by seeking to develop the attributes of the other, they drew further and further apart.
As a result, the Temple itself began to suffer.
The esoteric significance of the coming of the Queen is the mental awakening to the need for balancing the two sides of one’s nature. Hiram symbolizes the practical qualities of an individual and Solomon the idealistic, and neither is capable of real achievement without the other. Mentality must be used in bringing the two into balance, and as it is thus used, it, too, comes into balance so that one acquires that perfect balance essential to the full development of the Mental Body that the Temple of Solomon was intended to symbolize. When one has fully developed his Mental Body or Egoic Temple, he becomes a Master and has thus fulfilled all the requirements life on this plane placed upon him.
It is significant that, due to the lack of harmony between its builders, the Temple of Solomon was never fully completed. In the same manner, the lack of harmonious and equal development of both his idealistic and practical natures prevents the average individual from completing his Mental Body, or Temple of the Ego.
As Solomon and Hiram desired the Queen of Sheba personally, too many desire Initiation, seeing in it many advantages from a personal viewpoint. We must not permit personal ideas, however, to close our minds to the value of the development of the other side of our natures as did Hiram and Solomon, If we are idealistically inclined, let us seek intelligently to temper our imagination and faith through reason. If ours is a practical disposition, again let us be intelligent in our approach to the matter of acquiring faith, intuition, and imagination, accepting the fact that there is much that is true which we are as yet incapable of proving by reason alone.
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Informed Masons are well aware of the fact that Masonry as such far antedates the building of King Solomon’s Temple, but even in that great organization, its real earlier history has long been lost. Here, for the first time, a portion of it is being given in a form anyone will understand and, at the same time, without doing violence to any of the inner secrets so jealously guarded by all true Masons. There are many other points of esoteric significance which have been carefully preserved among the secret records of Masonry. We make mention of this for the benefit of those students who are Master Masons and to whom such symbology as “the stone that was rejected by the builders,” will take on a more comprehensive meaning.
The incompletion of the Temple is comparable to the uncapped Pyramid on the Great Seal of the United States, both having much the same esoteric significance which you should now understand quite fully.