The Temple of Solomon: From Ancient Israel to Secret Societies

The Temple of Solomon: From Ancient Israel to Secret Societies

by James Wasserman


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A fully illustrated history of the Temple of Solomon

• Examines the Temple of Solomon in the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, and Apocryphal writings

• Explores its role in the founding of Freemasonry, the legends of the Knights Templar, the doctrines of the Kabbalah, and the teachings of Islam

• Explains the sacred nature of the Temple Mount—the site of the Temple of Solomon—and the secrets that may still be hidden there

• Richly illustrated, including many photos and images from rare archives

The spiritual heart of many esoteric societies, the Temple of Solomon was located atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a site venerated by the three great monotheistic religions as the intersection of Divine and human. Built by King Solomon at the peak of ancient Israel’s power, the Temple of Solomon housed the golden Ark of the Covenant in its Holy of Holies, a sacred chamber where one could communicate directly with God. Centuries after the temple’s destruction, the Temple Mount was used as the headquarters for the Knights Templar during the Crusades, and countless legends have come down through the centuries about the secrets they may have uncovered there, including discovery of the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant.

Richly illustrated with biblical and Masonic illustrations, photographs, and ancient and modern paintings—many from rare archives—this book explores the Temple of Solomon in the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, and Apocryphal writings as well as its role in the founding of Freemasonry, the legends of the Knights Templar, the doctrines of the Kabbalah, and Muhammad’s visionary journey from the Temple Mount through the heavens. Seeking to understand the powerful desire of many religions and secret societies to re-create the temple through ritual and prayer, James Wasserman explains why it was built, the magical forces King Solomon may have used in its creation, what its destruction meant for Jews and Christians alike, and why the Knights Templar as well as several modern secret societies named their orders after it. Detailing the sacred architecture of this perfectly proportioned mystical edifice through words and art, the author reveals the Temple of Solomon as the affirmation of God’s presence in human affairs, the spiritual root of Western culture, and an important monument to the Divine nearly forgotten in today’s secular times but sorely needed to bridge the divide between our ancient past and our spiritual future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594772207
Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
Publication date: 11/08/2011
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 363,530
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

James Wasserman (1948-2020) was the author of several books, including The Templars and the Assassins and The Secrets of Masonic Washington. A longtime student of the occult and a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis since 1976, he lived in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Prologue: The Presence of the Lord

Untold aeons ago, a spark of light shot forth from the heavens to become the first speck of matter in that region of space now known as earth. From that minute particle—the Foundation Stone (even shetiyya)—grew our world. Three thousand years ago, that stone served as the base for the Temple of Solomon, later the Temple of Zerubbabel, and later still Herod’s Temple. Today it is enclosed by the Muslim shrine the Dome of the Rock.

The plans and materials for Solomon’s Temple were collected by his father, David, warrior king of the Jews. The Temple housed the golden Ark of the Covenant, the powerful home of the two Tablets of the Law carved directly by the hand of God when He met with Moses on Mount Sinai. The Ark had remained in the Tabernacle, an elaborately constructed ritual tent, for some four hundred years before it found its resting place in the Holy of Holies of the Temple.

The Temple Mount, Mount Moriah, in Jerusalem is regarded as a holy place by the three great monotheistic faiths of the descendants of Abraham—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It was on Mount Moriah that God tested Abraham’s faith by commanding him to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, and which He repeatedly sanctified throughout the Bible as His dwelling place on earth; here where Jesus spoke with the Rabbis as a child, later ejected the moneychangers, then preached his reformation of the severity of the monotheism of his forebears; and here, where six centuries later, Muhammad met with Moses and Jesus in a vision before ascending on his fiery steed through the heavens. There are traditions that identify the Temple Mount as the location of the Garden of Eden.

The site of Solomon’s Temple became the headquarters of the divine warriors of the Crusades, the Knights Templar, sworn to protect the Holy City of their faith. Countless legends have come down through the centuries about the Order’s relation to the site and the secrets they may have uncovered there. Whatever truth such legends may or may not have, what is absolutely true is that the Bible and the Temple were the beating heart that animated the Knights Templar as they risked their lives to defend the Holy Land.

The building of the Temple of Solomon is the founding myth of Freemasonry. The craftsmen directed by Master Mason Hiram Abiff labored to erect the perfectly proportioned mystical edifice that would house and celebrate the presence of the Lord. Who else but the most skilled and spiritual artisan/adepts could be entrusted with such a task? Each and every Freemason has walked between the pillars of Solomon’s Temple on his path to Truth.

The Temple of Solomon remains as important today as the day it was completed in 957 bce. It is a fundamental component of the spiritual and religious yearnings of millions of people and has been the symbolic focus of the teachings of esoteric societies for three thousand years.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus, 25:8)

The act of creation proceeds as unity manifests itself in duality. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. The Temple exists because of this division. It is the separation of sacred and profane, the sacrifice of space, effort, and resources to a greater yet invisible purpose. It signifies the distillation of the spiritual aspiration from the realm of the physical body. It is the manifestation of faith, the materialization of intention, the dedication of oneself and one’s community to the service and celebration of the divine. It is the Word made Flesh.

The story of the Temple of Solomon begins in the Garden of Eden. For within the enclosed sacred space of the Garden, the first couple walked with God in a state of undivided unity. That period of bliss came to an end at the Fall, when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden and prevented from returning by armed cherubim guarding the entrance. Since the Fall, the reestablishment of the unity between God and man may be called the central theme of human existence. It is the underlying goal of the entire biblical narrative that follows Eden. It was pursued each time an altar was built, the Tabernacle moved, the Temple completed.

The integration of heaven and earth that remains to be achieved enjoys a most glorious and profound distinction from that of the Garden. This time we enter the Lord’s presence as fully conscious beings—having eaten of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—free to choose acceptance of, and surrender to, the Infinite.

Long after the closing of Eden and the destruction of the Flood, the Tabernacle was built on the plan communicated to Moses by God. It was designed as the central place of worship for the nomadic tribes of Israel as they walked through the desert for forty years. The portable Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting was the precedent of the Temple of Solomon, which was built after the land of Israel was settled and Jerusalem conquered and established as David’s capital. Appropriately, the story of Solomon’s Temple ends at the conclusion of the Bible with John’s description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation.

“I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation, 21:1-2)

“I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Revelation, 21:22)

We have at last returned to the Garden of Eden and the immanence of God on earth.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Peter Levenda

Prologue The Presence of the Lord

Introduction The Key to Solomon’s Temple

Part One
In the Beginning

1 Creation and Destruction: The Garden to the Flood
2 The Patriarchs and Matriarchs

Part Two
Moses, the Tabernacle, and the Law

3 Exodus: The Freedom to Worship
4 Leviticus: The Laws of Sacrifice
5 Numbers: The Journey to the Promised Land Continues
6 Deuteronomy: The Book of the Law of the Temple

Part Three
Pre-Monarchical Leadership

7 Joshua: Subduing the Land of Israel
8 Judges: The People Depart from Righteousness
9 Ruth: The Matriarch of the Kings of Israel
10 Samuel: The Prophet Establishes the Monarchy

Part Four
The United Monarchy and the First Temple

11 The Reign of Saul: First King of the Realm
12 The Reign of David: The Warrior/Poet
13 The Reign of Solomon: The Building of the Temple

Part Five
The Divided Monarchy and the Loss of the Temple

14 The Divided Kingdoms of Judah and Israel
15 The Loss of the Kingdom of Israel
16 The Loss of the Kingdom of Judah
17 Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Last Days of the Temple of Solomon, and the Exile

Part Six
The Second Temple

18 Ezekiel’s Vision of the Temple
19 The Return from Exile and the Second Temple
20 The Second Temple in the Books of Maccabees
21 Herod’s Temple

Part Seven
The Christian Revelation

22 The Temple in the Story of Jesus
23 The New Jerusalem

Part Eight
The Temple in the Esoteric Tradition

24 The Knights of the Temple
25 The Freemasons and the Temple

Afterword Reflections on the Temple


1 A Brief History of Jerusalem and the Promised Land
2 A Suggestive Chronology of the Temple and Jerusalem
3 The Temple Holidays
4 Maps of the Holy Land




What People are Saying About This

Daniel Pineda

“In The Temple of Solomon, James Wasserman has delivered an inspired work on one of the most important subjects in the history of the spiritual tradition. This book is unique and timely, serving to bring the Judeo-Christian foundations of Western civilization into focus. The Temple of Solomon explores the spiritual and cultural origin of the threats to life and liberty we face in our lives today. The author brings clarity, wisdom, and personal experience to this work, which sets it apart from all other books on the subject.”

John Michael Greer

“Erudite and gorgeously illustrated, The Temple of Solomon places the Jerusalem Temple in its historical and cultural perspective, drawing on sacred books and ancient historians alike to trace the history of the Tabernacle, the First and Second Temples, and the Temple as a visionary experience and esoteric paradigm through more than three thousand years of transformations. This is essential reading not only for students of esoteric spirituality and ancient mysteries but also for anyone fascinated by the lore of the world’s most famous holy place.”

Mark Stavish

“While the Holy Ground of the Temple Mount has long been mentioned in esoteric literature, for far too long those who would claim to be its modern heirs have ignored and even been hostile to their Abrahamic origins. In the Holy of Holies it is said that God spoke to Israel; in these pages, it may be said that God is speaking to us, making it essential reading for students of the Western esoteric traditions.”

J. Daniel Gunther

“James Wasserman provides a great service by keeping the story of the Holy Temple firmly fixed in the narrative of the Scriptures. From the Books of Moses to the vision of the New Jerusalem in the Revelation of St. John the Divine, from the Crusades of the Knights Templar to the esoteric interpretations of Freemasonry, the evolution and meaning of the Temple is revealed in a rich matrix of history, hope, faith and personal spiritual experience. It is this latter component that gives this book such immediacy. With genuine passion, the author demonstrates that historicity—while vital to our knowledge of the subject—is far less important than coming to understand that the Holy of Holies lies within the human heart and that the Temple of God is the body of the flesh that beareth it.”

Bob Hieronimus

“James Wasserman has done it again! In The Temple of Solomon he brings dusty, biblical history to life in an exciting but scholarly way and then fully meets the challenge of making it relevant to the modern reader. He shows that when the law of God is written in our hearts and flowing in our blood, our physical body temple becomes our spiritual temple. Well done!”

Anna Jedrziewski

“Whether your interest is mystical, metaphysical, or academic, this is a book you don’t want to miss. Wasserman has captured the power of both the Temple Mount and the structures that have been built there through the millenia. . . Available in both hardcover and paperback - and filled with photographs, paintings, and drawings - this is a great coffee table book, gift item, or religious / historical resource.”

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