Let us go back in history to the year 965 BCE when Solomon succeeded David as
King of the United Israelite Kingdom of the Twelve Tribes. A year later Solomon
ordered the start of preparations for the construction of the First Temple.
Hiram, King of Tyre, a good friend of both he and his father, had already
volunteered to help him with the temple construction. Hiram, King of Tyre, was
the son of Abibal, and the contemporary of both David and Solomon. David during
his reign had asked Hiram for cedars, carpenters, and masons; and they had built
David a house. Nearly forty years afterward, when Solomon ascended the throne,
and began to prepare for the building of the Temple, he sent to the old friend
of his father for the same kind of assistance. The two kings sealed their
agreement with prayers together on Mount Moriah, and the construction of the
great Temple began.
Let me now take you to a visit to the temple.
As you reach the Temple, you notice the two pillars on the porch way. The left
pillar is named Boaz and the right one is called Jachin. The pillars are more
than eight meters high, and are made of brass. They are huge and weigh about 40
tonnes each. The pillars have been built by the legendry Master Hiram Abif, the
widow's son, who was a great artificer in brass and other metals.
You cross the two pillars and enter. You come across winding stairs. As you
enter you notice that the stairs have a set of three steps, followed by a set of
five steps, and finally a set of seven steps. Thus there are fifteen steps. This
odd number of steps is not without purpose. The purpose is that you are supposed
to start with your left foot, so that when you reach the entrance of the temple,
you step out there with your left foot. A convention which has not lost any
significance with the passage of time.
The first three steps allude to the three great lights of freemasonry, viz., the
Square, the Compass and the Volume of Sacred Laws. It also allude to the three
lesser rights of freemasonry, viz., the Sun, the Moon and the Master of the
The next five steps allude to the five senses of men. Reminding us to exercise
due control over the senses. It also alludes to the five architectural orders,
viz., Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite. Each Order had its
specialization and you could see the workmanship of each of such Order in the
Temple. They also allude to the five points of fellowship.
The last set of seven steps allude to the seven liberal arts and sciences, viz.,
grammar, logic,rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music and astrology. It reminds
you that you are expected to keep improving your skills in these seven
disciplines. Grammar, so that you can express yourself properly. Logic, in order
that you can distinguish good from bad, and can take a reasoned decision when
faced with a dilemma. Rhetoric, because it beautifies your language, arithmetic,
because a Mason needs to be calculative in his action, geometry, because the
whole science of Temple construction depends upon geometry, music, so that when
you shift from labour to refreshment, you are able to appreciate the beauty of
life, which is best expressed in terms of music, and astrology , because it
helps you know the day, and night, to know when to begin the work, and when to
stop, to understand the seasons and to know the total area of jurisdiction of
the Great Architect of the Universe.
As you reach the outer door, you find that the door is half open, but is close
tyled by the Junior Warden, who demands a password. After due satisfaction, you
are allowed to enter. There is one more door to be crossed, credentials to be
established again, and the password to be given again to the Senior Warden who
lets you in the Middle Chamber.
As you enter, you see great light emanating from the letter G which is hanging
at the Eastern side. The light is so intense that you find it difficult to see
any other thing. As your eyes slowly get accustomed to the dazzling light, you
notice King Solomon standing on the East together with Hiram, the King of
Tyre,and Hiram Abif holding the registers in their hands. They inspect the
register and calculate the wages due to you. The wages are paid to you in the
form of corn, oil and wine. Corn to feed you, wine to help you charge your
energies, and the oil to apply on your body.
Having taken your wages, you salute King Solomon, and withdraw from the Lodge,
with a promise to return again whenever summoned.