THE ATLANTEAN MYSTERY TEMPLE
Ever since mankind, the prodigal spirit sons of our Father in Heaven, wandered into the wilderness of the world and fed upon the husks of its pleasures, which starve the body, there has been within man's heart a soundless voice urging him to return; but most men are so engrossed in material interests that they hear it not. The Mystic Mason who has heard this inner voice feels impelled by an inner urge to seek for the Lost Word; to build a house of God, a temple of the spirit, where he may meet the Father face to face and answer His call.
Nor is he dependent upon his own resources in this quest, for our Father in Heaven has Himself prepared a way marked with guide posts which will lead us to Him if we follow. But as we have forgotten the divine Word and would be unable now to comprehend its meaning, the Father speaks to us in the language of symbolism, which both hides and reveals the spiritual truths we must understand before we can come to Him. Just as we give to our children picture books which reveal to their nascent minds intellectual concepts which they could not otherwise understand, so also each God-given symbol has a deep meaning which could not be learned without that symbol.
God is spirit and must be worshipped in spirit. It is therefore strictly forbidden to make a material likeness of Him, for nothing we could make would convey an adequate idea. But as we hail the flag of our country with joy and enthusiasm because it awakens in our breasts the tenderest feelings for home and our loved ones, because it stirs our noblest impulse, because it is a symbol of all the things which we hold dear, so also do different divine symbols which have been given to mankind from time to time speak to that forum of truth which is within our hearts, and awaken our consciousness to divine ideas entirely beyond words. Therefore symbolism, which has played an all-important part in our past evolution, is still a prime necessity in our spiritual development; hence the advisability of studying it with our intellects and our hearts.
It is obvious that our mental attitude today depends on how we thought yesterday, also that our present condition and circumstances depend on how we worked or shirked in the past. Every new thought or idea which comes to us we view in the light of our previous experience, and thus we see that our present and future are determined by our previous living. Similarly the path of spiritual endeavor which we have hewn out for ourselves in past existences determines our present attitude and the way we must go to attain our aspirations. Therefore we can gain no true perspective of our future development unless we first familiarize ourselves with the past.
It is in recognition of this fact that modern Masonry harks back to the temple of Solomon. That is very well as far as it goes, but in order to gain the fullest perspective we must also take into consideration the ancient Atlantean Mystery Temple, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. We must understand the relative importance of that Tabernacle, also of the first and second temples, for there were vital differences between them, each fraught with cosmic significance; and within them all was the foreshadowing of the CROSS, sprinkled with BLOOD, which was turned to ROSES.
THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS
We read in the Bible the story of how Noah and a remnant of his people with him were saved from the flood and formed the nucleus of the humanity of the Rainbow Age in which we now live. It is also stated that Moses led his people out of Egypt, the land of the Bull, Taurus, through waters which engulfed their enemies and set them free as a chosen people to worship the Lamb, Aries, into which sign the sun had then entered by precession of the equinox. These two narratives relate to one and the same incident, namely, the emergence of infant humanity from the doomed continent of Atlantis into the present age of alternating cycles where summer and winter, day and night, ebb and flow, follow each other. As humanity had then just become endowed with mind, they began to realize the loss of the spiritual sight which they had hitherto possessed, and they developed a yearning for the spirit world and their divine guides which remains to this day, for humanity has never ceased to mourn their loss. Therefore the ancient Atlantean Mystery Temple, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, was given to them that they might meet the Lord when they had qualified themselves by service and subjugation of the lower nature by the Higher Self. Being designed by Jehovah it was the embodiment of great cosmic truths hidden by a veil of symbolism which spoke to the inner or Higher Self.
In the first place it is worthy of notice that this divinely designed Tabernacle was given to a chosen people, who were to build it from freewill offerings given out of the fullness of their hearts. Herein is a particular lesson, for the divine pattern of the path of progress is never given to anyone who has not first made a covenant with God that he will serve Him and is wiling to offer up his heart's blood in a life of service without self-seeking The term "Mason" is derived from PHREE MESSEN, which is an Egyptian term meaning "Children of Light." In the parlance of Masonry, God is spoken of as the Grand Architect. ARCHE is a Greek word which means "Primordial substance." TEKTON is the Greek name for builder. It is said that Joseph, the father of Jesus, was a "CARPENTER," but the Greek word is TEKTON--builder. It is also said that Jesus was a "tekton," a builder. Thus every true mystic Freemason is a child of light according to the divine pattern given him by our Father in Heaven. To this end he dedicates his whole heart, soul, and mind. It is, or should be, his aspiration to be "greatest in the kingdom of God," and therefore he must be THE SERVANT OF ALL.
The next point which calls for notice is the location of the temple with respect to the cardinal points, and we find that it was laid directly east and west. Thus we see that the path of spiritual progress is the same as the star of empire; it travels from east to west. The aspirant entered at the eastern gate and pursued the path by way of the Altar of Burnt Offerings, the Brazen Laver, and the Holy Place to the westernmost part of the Tabernacle, where the Ark, the greatest symbol of all, was located in the Holy of Holies. As the wise men of the East followed the Christ star westward to Bethlehem, so does the spiritual center of the civilized world shift farther and farther westward, until today the crest of the spiritual wave which started in China on the western shores of the Pacific has now reached the eastern shores of the same ocean, where it is gathering strength to leap once more in its cyclic journey across the waste of waters, to recommence in a far future a new cyclic journey around the earth.
The ambulant nature of this Tabernacle in the Wilderness is therefore an excellent symbolical representation of the fact that man is migratory in his nature, an eternal pilgrim, ever passing from the shores of time to eternity and back again. As a planet revolves in its cyclic journey around the primary sun, so man, the little world or microcosm, travels in cyclic circle dance around God, who is the source and goal of all.
The great care and attention to detail regarding the construction of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness shows that something far more exalted than what struck the eye of sense was intended in its construction. Under its earthly and material show there was designed a representation of things heavenly and spiritual such as should be full of instruction to the candidate for Initiation and should not this reflection excite us to seek an intimate and familiar acquaintance with this ancient sanctuary? Surely it becomes us to consider all parts of its plan with serious, careful, and reverential attention, remembering at every step the heavenly origin of it all, and humbly endeavoring to penetrate through the shadows of its earthly service into the sublime and glorious realities which according to the wisdom of the spirit it proposes for our solemn contemplation.
In order that we may gain a proper conception of this sacred place we must consider the Tabernacle itself, its furniture and its court. The illustration opposite page 33 may assist the student to form a better conception of the arrangement within.
THE COURT OF THE TABERNACLE
This was an enclosure which surrounded the Tabernacle. Its length was twice its width, and the ate was at the east end. This gate was enclosed by a curtain of blue, scarlet, and purple fine twined linen, and these colors show us at once the status of this Tabernacle in the Wilderness. We are taught in the sublime gospel of John that "God is Light," and no description or similitude could convey a better conception or one more enlightening to the spiritual mind than these words. When we consider that even the greatest of modern telescopes have failed to find the borders of light, though they penetrate space for millions and millions of miles, it gives us a weak but comprehensive idea of the infinitude of God.
We know that this light, which is God, is refracted into three primary colors by the atmosphere surrounding our earth, viz., blue, yellow, and red; and it is a fact well known to every occultist that the ray of the Father is blue, while that of the Son is yellow, and the color of the Holy Spirit's ray is red. Only the strongest and most spiritual ray can hope to penetrate to the seat of consciousness of the life wave embodied in our mineral kingdom, and therefore we find about the mountain ranges the blue ray of the Father reflected back from the barren hillsides and hanging as a haze over canyons and gulches. The yellow ray of the Son mixed with the blue of the Father gives life and vitality to the plant world, which therefore reflects back a green color, for it is incapable of keeping the ray WITHIN. But in the animal kingdom, to which unregenerate man belongs anatomically, the three rays are absorbed, and that of the Holy Spirit gives the red color to his flesh and blood. The mixture of the blue and the red is evident in the purple blood, poisoned because sinful. But the yellow is never evident until it manifests as a soul body, the golden "WEDDING garment" of the mystic Bride of the mystic Christ evolved from within.
Thus the colors on the veils of the Temple, both at the gate and at the entrance of the Tabernacle, showed that this structure was designed for a period previous to the time of Christ, for it had only the blue and the scarlet colors of the Father and the Holy Spirit together with their mixture, purple. But white is the synthesis of all colors, and therefore the yellow Christ ray was hidden in that part of the veil until in the fullness of time Christ should appear to emancipate us from the ordinances that bind, and initiate us into the full liberty of Sons of God, Sons of Light, Children of Light, Phree Messen or Mystic Masons.
THE BRAZEN ALTAR AND LAVER
THE BRAZEN ALTAR was placed just inside the eastern gate, and it was used for the sacrifice of animals during the temple service. The idea of using bulls and goats as sacrifices seems barbaric to the modern mind, and we cannot realize that they could ever have had any efficacy in that respect. The Bible does indeed hear out this view of the matter, for we are told repeatedly that God desires not sacrifice but a broken spirit and a contrite heart, and that He has no pleasure in sacrifices of blood. In view of this fact it seems strange that sacrifices should ever have been commanded. But we must realize that no religion can elevate those whom it is designed to help if its teachings are too far above their intellectual or moral level. To appeal to a barbarian, religion must have certain barbaric traits. A religion of love could not have appealed to those people, therefore they were given a law which demanded "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." There is not in the Old Testament any mention whatever of immortality, for these people could not have understood a heaven nor aspired to it. But they loved material possessions, and therefore they were told that if they did right they and their seed should dwell in the land forever, that their cattle should be multiplied, et cetera.
They loved material possessions, and they knew that the increases of the flock were due to the Lord's favor and given by Him for merit. Thus they were taught to do right in the hope of a reward in this present world. They were also deterred from wrongdoing by the swift punishment which was meted out to them in retribution for their sins. This was the only way to reach them. They could not have done right for the sake of right, nor could they have understood the principle of making themselves "living sacrifices," and they probably felt the loss of an animal for sin as we would feel the pangs of conscience because of wrongdoing.
The Altar was made of brass, a metal not found in nature, but made by man from copper and zinc. Thus it is symbolically shown that sin was not originally contemplated in our scheme of evolution and is an anomaly in nature as well as its consequences, pain and death, symbolized by the sacrificial victims. But while the Altar itself was made from metals artificially compounded, the fire which burned thereon unceasingly was of divine origin, and it was kept alive from year to year with the most jealous care. No other fire was ever used, and we may note with profit that when two presumptuous and rebellious priests dared to disregard this command and use strange fire, they met with an awful retribution and instant death. When we have once taken the oath of allegiance to the mystic Master, the HIGHER SELF, it is extremely dangerous to disregard the precepts then given.
When the candidate appears at the eastern gate he is "poor, naked, and blind." He is at that moment an object of charity, needing to be clothed and brought to the light, but this cannot be done at once in the mystic Temple.
During the time of his progress from the condition of nakedness until he has been clothed in the gorgeous robes of the high priest there is a long and difficult path to be traveled. The first lesson which he is taught is that man advances by sacrifices alone. In the Christian Mystic Initiation when the Christ washes the feet of His disciples, the explanation is given that unless the minerals decomposed and were offered us as embodiments for the plant kingdom, we should have no vegetation; also, did not the plant food furnish sustenance for the animals, these latter beings could not find expression; and so on, the higher is always feeding on the lower. Therefore man has a duty to them, and so the Master washes the feet of His disciples symbolically performing for them the menial service as a recognition of the fact that they have served Him as stepping-stones to something higher.
Similarly, when the candidate is brought to the Brazen Altar, he learns the lesson that the animal is sacrificed for his sake, giving its body for food and its skin for clothing. Moreover, he sees the dense cloud of smoke hovering over the Altar and perceives within it a light, but that light is too dim, too much enshrouded in smoke, to be of permanent guidance to him. His spiritual eyes are weak, however, and it would not do to expose them at once to the light of greater spiritual truths.