Temple de Salomon

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The building of this temple, according to the Bible, was first projected by King David, but on command of the Lord was not carried out by him because he had "shed much blood." David, however, assembled materials and workmen. To aid him in building the Temple, his son Solomon appealed to Hiram or Huram, King of Tyre, to send him a skillful artisan, and King Hiram sent Hiram Abif to Solomon, also workmen and additional supplies of timber.

According to the Biblical account the Temple was completely built, while according to Masonic tradition the building was left unfinished on account of the death of Hiram Abif. The temple after its completion retained its original splendor for only 33 years when the Egyptian King Shishak made war upon Rehoboam, Solomon's son, captured Jerusalem, and took away all the treasures of the temple and of the king's house. Its history is one of repeated profanation and of alternate spoilations and repairs, until finally in 588 BC it was entirely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in the reign of Zedekiah. Yet Herodotus who, some 150 years later, visited Tyre and described the temple of Melkarth and Astoreth, does not even mention the Temple of Solomon, supporting the view that there never was such a structure actually built.

Granting that there may be some historical background for the Biblical account, it is nevertheless allegorical throughout. Blavatsky compares the measurements given in the Bible with those of the Great Pyramid and the Tabernacle of Moses, all of which were constructed upon the same abstract formula derived from the number of years in the precessional cycle, and also upon integral values of pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter. Moses symbolized these "under the form and measurements of the tabernacle, that he is supposed to have constructed in the wilderness. On these data the later Jewish High Priests constructed the allegory of Solomon's Temple -- a building which never had a real existence, any more than had King Solomon himself, who is simply, and as much a solar myth as is the still later Hiram Abif, of the Masons, as Ragon has well demonstrated. Thus, if the measurements of this allegorical temple, the symbol of the cycle of Initiation, coincide with those of the Great Pyramid, it is due to the fact that the former were derived from the latter through the Tabernacle of Moses" (SD 1:314-5). And she refers to "the undeniable, clear, and mathematical proofs that the esoteric foundations, or the system used in the building of the Great Pyramid, and the architectural measurements in the Temple of Solomon (whether the latter be mythical or real), Noah's ark, and the ark of the Covenant, are the same" (SD 2:465).

The key to the meaning of Solomon's Temple is given by W. Q. Judge: it

"means man whose frame is built up, finished and decorated without the least noise. But the materials had to be found, gathered together and fashioned in other and distant places. . . . Man could not have his bodily temple to live in until all the matter in and about his world had been found by the Master, who is the inner man, when found the plans for working it required to be detailed. They then had to be carried out in different detail until all the parts should be perfectly ready and fit for placing in the final structure. So in the vast stretch of time which began after the first almost intangible matter had been gathered and kneaded, the material and vegetable kingdoms had sole possession here with the Master -- man -- who was hidden from sight within carrying forward the plans for the foundations of the human temple. All of this requires many, many ages, since we know that nature never leaps. And when the rough work was completed, when the human temple was erected, many more ages would be required for all the servants, the priests, and the counselors to learn their parts properly so that man, the Master, might be able to use the temple for its best and highest purposes" (Ocean 20).

Thus David, who collected materials for the building but was not permitted actually to build the temple, represents the evolutionary and preparatory work of earlier rounds and of the earlier root-races preceding the middle of the third root-race of this round, when humanity appeared upon the scene -- Solomon, David's son -- takes up the task of the actual building of the human temple. David thus mystically may stand for the lunar or barhishad-pitris, and Solomon for the solar or agnishvatta-pitris.

According to the Old Testament, the building of the temple was completed, but it was used for its high purposes only briefly. Allegorically this was during the Golden Age of the childhood of the human race -- the building was complete only as regards childhood when the gods walked among mankind and were their divine instructors; but humanity was not yet truly human, for manas (mind) had not yet been awakened by the manasaputras of whom Hiram Abif was a type. It is here that Masonic tradition should be studied together with the Biblical account. Then with the awakening of manas, and the eating from the Tree of Knowledge and hence the power to choose between good and evil -- in other words, with the beginning of self-directed evolution, the temple was desecrated again and again. "The building of the Temple of Solomon is the symbolical representation of the gradual acquirement of the secret wisdom, or magic; the erection and development of the spiritual from the earthly; the manifestation of the power and splendor of the spirit in the physical world, through the wisdom and genius of the builder. The latter, when he has become an adept, is a mightier king than Solomon himself, the emblem of the sun or Light himself -- the light of the real subjective world, shining in the darkness of the objective universe. This is the 'Temple' which can be reared without the sound of the hammer, or any tool of iron being heard in the house while it is 'in building' " (IU 2:391).

Again, the building of a temple, sanctuary, Holy of Holies, etc., always signified in the occult language of ancient days the founding and dissemination throughout the world or a portion of mankind of a secret doctrine of nature. In a more restricted sense, the building of a temple referred to the actual establishment of an initiation center, where not only for such territory the ancient wisdom and its divine significances were taught, but disciples were trained and brought to the "new" or "second" birth, and thenceforth themselves became adepts or initiates. On these lines the building of Solomon's Temple was the inauguration and establishment of the teaching of nature's occult wisdom in Judea and surrounding territory.

Tempter In general, the human mind, whether reacting to outside impulsions or impressions, or from within its own relatively small and uninspired powers; it has been commonly typified by the dragon, Satan, Zeus, etc. "Zeus is represented as a serpent -- the intellectual tempter of man -- which, nevertheless, begets in the course of cyclic evolution the 'Man-Saviour,' the solar Bacchus or 'Dionysus,' more than a man" (SD 2:419-20). Indeed, often it is our higher nature which "tempts" us upwards by calling forth latent or inner powers which, once evoked, are the ladder by which we climb. Thus our tempter is also our redeemer. The esoteric teaching of the tempting of humankind by awakening in its light of intellect has been materialized into a sensual temptation by a Devil in the Garden of Eden; and in the Bible, an evolutionary phase has been theologically degraded into a sin. The astral light is also spoken of as the tempter, especially by Eliphas Levi.

Temptation in its better sense is trial, probation, and testing, such as a candidate for knowledge must necessarily incur. In its worse sense, temptation is the evocation of action in and from the human mind and emotions, either by outside impacts, or because of the undeveloped characteristics of the mind itself.

(source : "Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary", traduction d'Esopedia)