My Other Blogs

2006-08-07

The Temple Garment

Nicholas's previous post gave me an interesting challenge: To write something on the subject of the Temple Garment. I present here, an old drawing of a Masonic apron. I am currently trying to find the history behind this picture, however, I want to point out a few things: The apron is replete with some "working tools", the Square, Compasses, and Level. Compared to the modern Fellow Craft who is taught that his working tools are the Square, Level, and Plumb. The Fellow Craft in some jurisdictions is taught that his Apron is made into a Pocket in which to hold his working tools, although I have never before seen this visualized. The garment and the apron indeed seem to have been synonymous at some point, perhaps having become that way as part of a gradual process. If the "flap" at the top of this apron were to be folded down, it appears you would be looking at the following:


This would be the only time I have seen the symbols in a Masonic source oriented in the "L _ V" pattern. Fascinating. It is particularly intriguing that the locations of these working tools are over the correct side of the body, in comparison to the Temple Garment. However, the L is backwards of its ordinary position, giving some more credence to the antiquity of the layout used on the Allred gravestone. (see my earlier post on this reversal) This also gives a possible answer for the two decorative tassle's often seen hanging down in older Aprons. Perhaps they are symbolizing Jachin and Boaz the two brazen pillars set up at the entrance of King Solomon's Temple? (Look up Antique Masonic Apron on eBay or somewhere to see photographs of these tassles, they were once quite prevalent especially in Grand Masters aprons, etc., during a not too distant past.)

Well, maybe this answers something. But, now, returning to the Temple Garment... I have heard stories of the discovery of bodies buried by ancient tribes who have worn garments with markings or symbols on them. I have heard Hugh Nibley quoted as the source. I think I have even read it myself. I haven't seen any good photos, however, and so I wonder what types of markings these are. Certainly they are not too close to the current Temple Garment or else a bigger fuss would have been made over it. Nibley would have shown it, if the evidence was really so compelling. Instead, he merely referenced it as a similar curiosity.

We do get the following early Christian picture:


Hmmm, all squares, but no compasses or levels.

I don't know.

We have here, a drawing of the original garment, reported in 1882. I admit, it is probably not from the most reliable source. However, you will notice that the navel mark at this point was a round hole rather than another level/bar like that found on the knee. I have heard that the navel mark was traditionally either a round hole or an X, and that as it eventually become a sewn shut button hole, it took on the characteristic hyphen shape we have it in today.

This is shown to demonstrate that the markings on the Garments of the Holy Priesthood can and do change, even over a short amount of time. I am interested to know what other permutations of symbolic garments have existed in Christian history, and in other traditions around the world. I would like to see some pictures or illustrations, if any exist.

And now for some scripture to show how this relates to the Old Testament Tabernacle of Moses:
Exodus 28:42-43
And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

And,
Leviticus 16:4
He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.

Hmm... So, the Linen Breeches seem to be the closest thing in the Tabernacle practices to the modern Garment.

I have also heard stories about Adam's original garment, which was passed down through the generations of mankind. A legend or idea, which, along with some other Adamic hierlooms, is almost as amazing as the quest for the Holy Grail. Perhaps someone can fill in some details on this?

2 comments:

LifeOnaPlate said...

Alma 46.

Jeff said...

LifeOnAPlate,

Are you suggesting that the "Title of Liberty" is the garment? I think it is worthwhile to consider that in ancient times, the analogous clothing to the garment was not "underwear" at all. It was probably worn quite visibly, being described amongst the priestly clothing of the Tabernacle, etc...