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King Solomon s Temple (PDF)

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King Solomon's Temple

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									                             King Solomon’s Temple
                                      by Ian Ellis-Jones
 PRECIS OF AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE SYDNEY UNITARIAN CHURCH ON SUNDAY, 2 APRIL 2006



King Solomon was the second child of King David by Bathsheba. (According to the noted
Jewish historian Josephus, Solomon was the last born of David’s sons.) In 965 BCE Solomon
succeeded David as King of the united Israelite kingdom of the Twelve Tribes. In 966 BCE
Solomon ordered the start of the preparations for the construction of a temple. The
construction of the temple that has since become known as “King Solomon’s Temple” was
Solomon’s crowning achievement.

The building of the temple at Jerusalem began with King David. He accumulated much of the
material needed for the building of the temple, including much gold and silver. David also
established good relations with Tyre, which became the source of much of the needed
material. It was also from Tyre that many of the skilled artisans came, as Israel was lacking
in skilled workers of the kind needed. The stone came mostly from the immediate vicinity.
However, the timber came from Lebanon. It is said that Hiram, King of Tyre, assisted greatly
as regards the cutting of the timber, its transportation, and the provision of skilled artisans. It
is also said that King Hiram also provided Solomon with the services of one Hiram Abiff,
reputed to have been a master craftsman, who supervised all the work.

The story of King Solomon’s temple is an allegory, the temple being a symbol of the human
life occupied in the search after divine truth or spiritual wisdom. Each one of us is building a
spiritual building, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. It is a temple of
ourselves. Each of us is the surveyor of the “land” upon which the temple is to be built. Each
of us is the architect or designer of the temple, as well as the builder. Each of us is the high
priest in our own temple. The bricks or stones of this temple are our own minds, and our own
thoughts. We all know that our character is built by our thoughts. Yes, we furnish all of the
material for the building of our temple.

Now, the temple is built by Solomon, not David. Allegorically, Solomon represents the state
of mind that is established in consciousness when the soul is united with wisdom and love.
Allegorically, David represents love. The temple must, however, first be conceived in love,
but must be built in a state of peace and wisdom (Solomon), and not by one who is in conflict
(David). The very word, Solomon (the “sun man”), is a Kabbalistic composition symbolizing
divine wisdom. The word is also an emblem of Sol, the “Solar Initiate”. Esotericists claim
that Solomon’s life and works are an allegory on the trials and glory of Initiation into the
Ancient Mysteries. Indeed, the architectural floor plan of King Solomon’s Temple (which,
undoubtedly, did in fact exist, but which was later completely destroyed in 587 BCE by the
Babylonians when they captured Jerusalem), in conjunction with its various furnishings,
reveals a “temple man” composed of 3 different Biblical figures - the Levitical High Priest,
Jacob (Israel), and a “metallic messiah” - a single composition consisting of one figure
superimposed upon the other.

What set King Solomon’s temple apart from all other temples in the ancient world was that
there were no idols in it. Idols were unnecessary because of the Omnipresence of God. There
is a message in that. There is only One Presence and One Power active in the universe, and
that is God, as we understand God. That creative Power and Presence, the very livingness of
life itself, is not localized in any sense. Years later, the first Christian martyr Stephen is
reported to have said, “Solomon build God a house [but] the Most High does not dwell in
temples made with hands” (Acts 7:47-48).
We are told that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Once again, there is the
influence of the Kabbalah here. These figures are Kabbalistic constructs, the numbers 7 and 3
being very important Kabbalistic numbers. (For example, the number 7 is said to be the
divine number, representing fullness, individual completeness, and the perfection of the
human soul. The number 3, said to be the most “creative” of all numbers, is an outgrowth of
the numbers 1 and 2, the male and the female respectively.) Allegorically, these many wives
and concubines represent the personalities of our attributes, feelings, passions, and so forth.

The temple faced east. Symbolically, that is where God is. There is the obvious influence of
solar religion here. Our temple must also face east. The temple took 7 years to build. As
already ,mentioned, the number 7 signifies fullness, individual completion, and perfection.
(In the Ancient Wisdom there were 7 liberal arts and sciences: grammar, rhetoric, logic,
arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy.)

The temple was built in the middle of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the city of peace. Jerusalem
also stands upon a hill. In the Bible, a hill stands for uplifted consciousness. The temple
stood on the Rock of Zion, on top of Mt Moriah, where Abraham showed his preparedness to
obey God and offered up his son Isaac as a sacrifice. We, too, must be prepared to sacrifice
all that stands in the way of our spiritual development. (Sadly, Solomon himself became
increasingly obsessed with luxury and grandeur and ultimately descended into crass
materialism and increasing secularism. He even built shrines to others’ gods and set up idols
in order to please his wives, although he does not appear to have stopped worshipping the one
true God.) There is, of course, important symbolism in the “Rock”, which does not shift or
change. In the Ancient Wisdom, rock is a symbol of truth. In the Psalms God is said to be
the “rock of salvation”, and so forth.

The temple is built with praise and with prayer. It is built in silence, not in boasting. It is
built in quietness and in confidence. It is built in the “secret place”, in that state of
consciousness which comes from contemplating spiritual things of ultimate importance (God,
if you like). The temple is built out of stone, not bricks. (The Tower of Babel - confusion -
was built out of bricks.) Stone is given to us, but it must be dug out of the quarry, squared
and made up with a great deal of work (allegorically, spiritual thought, meditation, prayer).
No tools of iron, no metal tools, were used in the construction of the temple. Metal would
have “polluted” the temple. Also, iron is synonymous with idols and the warlike Philistines.

The temple was 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Once again, there is the
influence of the Kabbalah here. We have a perfect cube, symbolizing a mind purified by
piety. There were 2 pillars at the entrance to the temple, the one on the left being called
“Boaz”, and the one on the right “Jachin” (2 words that occur in 9 Semitic languages derived
from the Babylonian). “Boaz”, said to have been the great grandfather of Kind David, means
“in strength”, “strength is in Him”, “Lord of strength”; it refers to the creative word, the
Logos, that gives us the power to change the conditions through our recognition of the
oneness of all life (the One Universal Principle). “Jachin”, the pillar on the right, and a
reference to the assistant high priest who is said to have officiated at the dedication of the
temple, means “God will establish (His House of Israel)” or “I will establish”; it is a reference
to the mathematical unity of the cosmos, Universal Mind, God. When the two words are used
conjointly, they denote stability. The 2 pillars symbolize God’s repeated promises of support
to His people Israel. There may be 2 pillars (male and female), but there is one Deity. The
tops of the pillars are adorned with 2 chapiters enriched with lilly work (purity, peace),
network (unity and strength) and pomegranates (plenty, fertility).
Allegorically, all this means that if we persist in our spiritual life, we will ultimately prosper,
and we will have constructed a temple that is eternal.

								
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