THE ORIGIN OF MASONRY
IV Mt. Gerizim and the Land of Moriah
by E. Cromwell Mensch 32 degree
THE NEW AGE - OCTOBER 1948
The fame of King Solomon's Temple lies in the reflected glory of the
House of Moses, for it was planned and built with the idea of replacing
the Tabernacle with a more permanent structure. The purpose behind its
building is to be found in the history of David, father of Solomon. The
original Tabernacle was the vehicle which had welded the Israelites into
a united mass, and had kept them united during their successful invasion
of Palestine. The initial breakthrough took place at Jericho, after
which the Isra elites spread out to the north and south, but they did
not succeed in taking Jerusalem.
Their first objective was to locate the "spot" on which to erect the
Tabernacle, which was believed to be at Luz. Moses died just prior to
the invasion, but he had left certain instructions, which were to be
followed out after they reached the promised land. Among other things,
they were instructed to put the blessing upon Mt. Gerizim, and the curse
upon Mt. Ebal. Neither the geographical location of these mounts, nor
the manner in which the blessing was to be bestowed, were specified. It
was decided that t he medium was the altar specified in Exodus 20:24,
which was to be of earth, or of unhewn stone, and without steps. The
allegorical meaning here, of course, is the good earth upon which we
The Israelites found Luz ill-favoured as a location for the Tabernacle,
even though it had been specified by Moses as none other but the house
of God and the gate of heaven in Genesis 28:17. They then moved on to
Samara and set up their Tabernacle and their altar between the two peaks
in that country, which are still called Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal to this
day. However, the choice of this "spot" was far from unanimous, and it
was not long before the Tabernacle was moved elsewhere.
About 200 years later, or in 1005 B.C.David succeeded in wresting
Jerusalem away from the native Jebusites. After taking the city; he had
himself declared king over both Israel and Judah. Israel was the common
name applied to the Israelites of the north, for by then they had lost
their tribal distinctions. David himself had risen to power under the
banner of the Tribe of Judah, which had maintained its tribal identity
in the south. At the time David established himself at Jerusalem, the
true location of the mount upon which a blessing was to be put was still
a live issue.
In the meantime the original Tabernacle had vanished and the Ark of the
Covenant had been placed in storage. The lustre of the Ark had been
somewhat dimmed prior to this on account of its failure to stop the
Philistines on the field of battle. Under this combination of
circumstances David saw a splendid opportunity to restore the Ark to its
natural setting, and, at one and the same time, establish a mount of his
own upon which to put a blessing. He accordingly purchased the threshing
floor of Ornan, the Jeb usite, and this is the "spot" upon which the
Temple was subsequently erected.
It was called the Zion, or hill, which is the literal interpretation of
the word Zion. Mount would have served the purpose just as well, for it
was here that he pitched a new tabernacle in order that the Ark might be
brought out of storage. The use of the word Gerizim was probably avoided
because this new shrine was designed to serve Israel as well as Judah,
and these people of the north already had a Mt. Gerizim. We get a vague
hint of this from the use of the word Moriah, which is commonly called
Mt. Mori ah today. The original use of this word is to be found in
Genesis 22:2, which states that the sacrifice of Abraham's son Isaac was
to take place in the land of Moriah, and upon one of the mountains of
which he was to be told. This passage of Scripture was probably cited at
that time as an authority, or precedent, for the establishment of a
second mount at Jerusalem.
It was after David had pitched this new Tabernacle that he made known
his intention of replacing it with a more permanent structure. With this
structure he undertook to create a vehicle, which, in the words of II
Samuel 7:13, he hoped would establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
This hope lay in the belief that he could endow his contemplated Temple
with the powers of the original Tabernacle by duplicating its design.
Hiram of Tyre was called in as a collaborator, because he had previously
built the p alace in which David had set himself up as king over the two
branches of the Israelites. Hiram was a Phoenician, and his city of Tyre
was in a better position to furnish skilled artisans.
However, the basic, design of the Temple was copied from the description
of the Tabernacle, or rather that part of its description which is to
be found in the Book of Exodus. The builders of the Temple apparently
did not understand the true cabalism of the writings of Moses, for the
key to the design of the Tabernacle is concealed in the ladder Jacob
supposedly dreamt about. In the words of Moses, this was none other but
the house of God and the gate to heaven, as set forth in Genesis 28:17.
In the previous verse, Genesis 28:16, Jacob had just awaked out of his
sleep, which refers back to Genesis 28:12, and, "he dreamed, and behold
a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and
behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it."
The essence of the ladder of Jacob was the cubical Holy of Holies of the
Tabernacle. It was projected into a column of 7 cubes on the Trestle
Board, with horizontal coordinates extending out over the centre of the
drawing from the upper levels of the 2nd, 4th, and 6th cubes. Below
these horizontals, and on the base line, another cube was drawn to
represent the Holy of Holies itself. From the centre of this Holy of
Holies a series of ascending "angles" were projected upward to intercept
the horizontals. At t he points of intersection, vertical ordinates were
dropped to the base line, and they exactly prescribed the 48 cubits
length of the Tabernacle. A 7th ordinate was projected upwards into
infinity, from the centre of the base line, and represented the joining
of the celestial with the terrestrial sphere. This 7th ordinate was the
top of the ladder, which reached to heaven. The cubes were 7 in number
because they represented the 7 bodies of our planetary system which are
visible to the n aked eye. Each of the ascending angles were 23 1/2
degrees", because that is the celestial angle at which the earth is
inclined away from the plane of its orbit.
The unit of measurement was obtained by dividing one edge of the cubical
Holy of Holies into 10 equal parts. The Apex of the curtains of Goats'
Hair was equal to the height of 3 cubes, or 30 cubits. Half this
height, or 15 cubits, was equivalent to the combined widths of the 10
boards of the sheathing, and the upper half prescribed the height of
the pediments. The descending "angles" of Genesis 28:12 exactly
subtended the 1 1/2, cubits cross section of the Ark of the Covenant
below the centre of the Holy of Holies". The descending ordinates
exactly laid out the 7 bents, or vertical bars across which the "six"
boards of Exodus 36:27 were spaced out. This is indeed none other but
the House of God, and the House we proclaim was erected to God and
dedicated to His Holy name.
The 7th ordinate came direct from the celestial, and was symbolic of the
path down which Moses had brought the word of God, for it intersected
the mercy seat of the Ark in its exact centre. This was within the
cubical of the Holy of Holies, which was designated as the most Holy
place. The balance of the space within the House was called the Holy
place, and its several parts were symbolic of the several features of
our planetary system.
Outside the House, and far off about the Tabernacle, the 12 tribes were
encamped. As each tribe was encamped under the ensign of his Father's
house, the encampment itself was symbolic of the 12 constellations of
the Zodiac. Hence, the complete layout of Tabernacle and encampment was
copied from the design of the Father's house in the celestial.
Had the builders of the Temple thoroughly understood the implications of
the ladder Jacob supposedly dreamt about, it is highly improbable they
would have built their structure of stone. This ladder truly located the
gateway to heaven, for whenever and wherever the original Tabernacle was
set up, the ladder of Jacob formed an integral part of its design. The
"mount" it blessed was the mother earth on which the Tabernacle rested.