Monday, November 07, 2005

The Sign of Melchizedek

A soldier snapped this picture from a bridge of a Kirkuk skyline. Do you recognize the symbol of the design on the bridge? If you’ve been to the San Diego Temple, you might do so very quickly. That’s right, it’s the symbol or “Seal of Melchizedek,” right here in Kikuk, no less.

I heard directly from one of the architect team partners that designed the San Diego Temple, he explained that the designer saw this symbol in a dream and based the floor plan and décor of the temple on this design; namely two offset, intersecting squares. Much like the 6-point Star of David but with 8 points instead.

Hugh Nibley recognized this design as the Seal of Melchizedek. Here is an excerpt from his book Temple and Cosmos about the mosaic pictured below:

"Another Ravenna mosaic, e. A.D. 520, shows the priest-king Melchizedek in a purple cloak, offering bread and wine at the altar (Gen. 14: 18-20). The white altar cloth is decorated with two sets of gammadia, as well as the so-called "seal of melchizedek," two interlocked squares in gold. Abel offers his lamb as Abraham gently pushes Isaac forward. The hand of God reaches down to this sacred meeting through the red veils adorned with golden gammadia on either side. The theme is the great sacrifice of Christ, which brings together the righteous prophets from the past as well as the four corners of the present world, thereby uniting all time and space."

I guess it should be no surprise that in the land of the ancient patriarchs such as Abraham and Daniel, that such a symbol might be found, or even common. I hope to find someday what it means to the locals.


kimbo said...

How absolutely fascinating! I'm guessing you've been through the San Diego temple and I just have to the inside decor as incredible as the outside? I guess it'd be somewhat hard to judge as the feelings inside enhance everything. Anyway, just thought I'd ask. Oh, and I'd love to know what the symbol means to the locals. If you find out, let us know!

Ernest said...

The Celestial Room has crystal windows, great chandeliers, and a huge staircase ascends to the sealing floors, where there is a glass enclosed garden atrium, also in the 8point-star shape and open to the sky where the two spires are visible.

The light in the Celestial Room is so brilliant on a sunny day that it almost hurts your eyes. I think that is especially wonderful as a symbol of the Lord's presence.

There are also some very unique support-free spiral staircases and lots of windows, lots of light. I particularly enjoy the cafeteria. Just kidding, sort of.


Richard Gibb said...

After three tries with the same amount of results, I think I have found the route to add my comment. Simply said...let us all know if and when you find out the meaning to the locals.


Richard Gibb said...

can you email me, I have some specific questions regarding Irag?

Shawn said...

From Wikipedia

"Rub El Hizb is an eighth of a juz'. The symbol is used as a marker for the end of a chapter in Arabic calligraphy."


Ernest said...

Thanks, everyone! Shawn, your mention of the "Rub El Hizb" is verified at this link:

Also, my comments are verified by another more thorough discussion of the symbol at this link, be sure to click the link for Part 4 and read the comment from Jennifer O too. link:

I heard from one of the 3-Man team of Designers at a fireside in San Diego. His partner first saw the seal in a dream. Since then I've also noticed that mosques and even Saddam's Palaces are built around this design. It is all over the Mid-East and Islamic cultures.

I suspect that it started with the Ishmael/Isaac conflict. Disgruntled brothers that lost the right to the priesthood often started an imitation to the priesthood. Just a guess. The decendants of Ishmael are, of course, the Arabs.

Anonymous said...

Looks like someone is quoting you here