I recently met a friend, Bro. Ian MacLeod who has recently returned to Scotland after living and working for many years in the Middle East. Ian is a Past District Grand Master of The American and Canadian Grand Lodge which has it`s headquarters in Germany. He is a Past Master of Pyramid Lodge No. 962, District No. 9 of that Constitution and a bit of an expert on Masonic Research. He sent me an interesting “Do You Know” which his Lodge produces for it`s Members.
This particular paper is on, King Solomon`s Temple.
We have all enjoyed the lectures describing The Temple, and the story of that great building being an integral part of our Masonic heritage. I feel that a closer look at some Biblical facts concerning its construction may be of interest to some of our newer members. The building itself was not of gigantic proportions, especially if compared with some of the other great edifices of the period, like the pyramids etc. The foundation of the main building was only 90ft. long by 30ft. wide and made up of 15ft. blocks of hand cut granite. It had a portico to the front measuring 30ft. by 30ft. and rooms for priests and scholars ranged along the outside of the main building. All this was contained within the courtyard of sensible proportions.
The most outstanding feature of the Temple was it`s decoration which was without doubt the most lavishly decorated edifice the world has ever seen, before or since. The following list of just some of the decorating materials used serves to illustrate this point.
GOLD 270 Tons
SILVER 580 Tons
BRONZE 1000 Tons
IRON 3450 Tons
The materials were utilised in this manner during construction.
Firstly the entire inside temple was panelled in cedar wood brought from Lebanon, and then this panelling was totally overlaid with pure gold plate. The floor was laid in pine planks, and like the walls it was covered in gold, as were the massive cedar roof beams. In these days of stainless steel and plastic it is hard to imagine the entire interior of a building covered in gold, and the atmosphere of eloquence that must have prevailed within it. Every gold panel was decorated with gold ornamentation and massive ornamental gold chains ran across the front of the inner sanctuary, which was also built of cedar and covered in pure gold.
The temple was filled with free standing gold art works. The most notable example of which was a pair of golden cherubim or angels that stood at the rear of the inner sanctuary their wing tips stretching from wall to wall, a total of 30ft.
Open flowers and palm trees carved from pure gold adorned walls and ceiling, and an altar of gold stood within the sanctuary. All round were lamp stands and bowls of gold. Imagine if you will, walking inside this incredible building your footsteps muted on the polished golden floor, your own image reflected back by the gold on the walls and ceiling, you would advance to the golden alter along a narrow lane bordered by a multitude of objects d`art lovingly carved in pure gold. What could be your thoughts? No Pyramid or Coliseum could hope to rival this edifice in unashamed extravagance, in fact no other building in the world has ever been furnished with such eloquence. So when you next approach the sacred alter of Freemasonry cast your mind back to that ancient altar within King Solomon`s Temple where it all started.