Jachin and Boaz

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Model of the Temple of Solomon with the two pillars Jachin and Boaz at the entrance and the Brazen Sea (left) and the central altar (right) in the forecourt.

Jachin and Boaz were the names given to the two pillars that stood at the entrance gate of Solomon's Temple. King Solomon had them made by the builders of King Hiram I (Hebrewחִירָם). According to the Old Testament, they were cast from bronze, hollow on the inside and each 18 cubits (about 8.2 m) high, with a circumference of 12 cubits (about 5.47 m) and a wall thickness of 4 fingers (about 7.6 cm):

„3 And King Solomon sent and brought Hiram from Tyre. 14 He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bronze. And he was full of wisdom, understanding, and skill for making any work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all his work. 15 He cast two pillars of bronze. Eighteen cubits was the height of one pillar, and a line of twelve cubits measured its circumference. It was hollow, and its thickness was four fingers. The second pillar was the same. 16 He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars. The height of the one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other capital was five cubits. 17 There were lattices of checker work with wreaths of chain work for the capitals on the tops of the pillars, a lattice for the one capital and a lattice for the other capital. 18 Likewise he made pomegranates in two rows around the one latticework to cover the capital that was on the top of the pillar, and he did the same with the other capital. 19 Now the capitals that were on the tops of the pillars in the vestibule were of lily-work, four cubits. 20 The capitals were on the two pillars and also above the rounded projection which was beside the latticework. There were two hundred pomegranates in two rows all around, and so with the other capital. 21 He set up the pillars at the vestibule of the temple. He set up the pillar on the south and called its name Jachin, and he set up the pillar on the north and called its name Boaz. 22 And on the tops of the pillars was lily-work. Thus the work of the pillars was finished.“

The name of the right pillar Jachin (Hebrewיָכִין) means "I (God) will rise!" or "I will raise up!", the name of the left pillar Boaz (Hebrewבועז) means "In him (God) is strength!". In Masonic contexts, however, the left column is usually called Jachin and the right Boaz.

Jakim can also be called the Pillar of Birth and Boaz the Pillar of Death:

The Fourth Apocalyptic Seal

„It is really so that we move through the total life as the sun moves through the twelve constellations. We enter our life in that our consciousness for the senses rises, as it were, at one world pillar and sets at the other world pillar. We pass by these pillars when we go, as it were, from the night side into the day side of the starry sky. This is what these occult or symbolic societies have always tried to point out by calling the pillar of birth, which man passes when he enters the life of the day side, Jakim. They must ultimately look for this pillar in the sky. And that which is external during the life between death and a new birth is the perceptions of the sense of touch spread over the whole world, where we do not grope but are groped, where we feel the spiritual beings touching us everywhere, while here we touch the other. During the life between death and new birth we live in the movement within, so that we feel this movement as if a blood corpuscle or a muscle were to feel its own movement here within us. In the macrocosm we feel ourselves moving between death and a new birth, we feel the balance, and in the life of the whole we feel ourselves within it. Here our life is completed in our skin, but there we feel ourselves inside the whole, the all-life, and feel ourselves giving our balance in every situation. Here, the earth's gravity and our particular bodily constitution give us our balance, and as a rule we know nothing about it. At any time we feel the balance in the life between death and a new birth. This is an immediate sensation, the other side of the life of the soul. Man enters earthly life through Jakim, assuring through Jakim: that which is outside in the macrocosm now lives in you, you are now a microcosm, for that is what the word "Jakim" means: in you the Divine poured out over the world.

Boaz, the other pillar: the entrance through death into the spiritual world. That which is summed up in the word Boaz means approximately: That which I have hitherto sought in myself, strength, I shall find poured out over the whole world, I shall live in it.“ (Lit.:GA 169, p. 58ff)

Rudolf Steiner states that the two columns are a symbol for the two halves of the earth's development, Mars - Mercury. Mars gives the earth the forces that were already developed on the Old Sun, the Cosmos of Strength. Mercury stands for wisdom, which was first formed on the Old Moon and which is therefore also called the Cosmos of Wisdom. Jachim is in this sense the Pillar of Wisdom and Boaz the Pillar of Strength.

The principle of these two pillars also underlies the fourth seal image in the Revelation of John, but here in the form of an Angel with feet like pillars of fire. The left pillar (Jachim) stands on the sea, which symbolises the moving astral world, the right one (Boaz) rests on the solid land:

„1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, 3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.“

„Our evolution on earth is based on two things. Our earth was preceded by what we call the cosmos of wisdom, and it was preceded by what we call - the word does not say much, of course, but we must use it because it has become common - the cosmos of strength, of power. Wisdom and strength are what the earth has inherited from earlier stages of evolution, from the old moon and the old sun. We shall see how this is also expressed within our earthly evolution by the fact that we name the first half of the earth's evolution after the representative of solar power, Mars. For now we need only consider that within our earthly evolution we have in Mars that which implanted iron in the earth. We see in Mars the bringer of strength. And in that which dominates the second half of the earth's evolution we have the representative of the old lunar evolution, Mercury, which imparts to the earth the old inheritance of the moon, wisdom. Thus the evolution of the earth is composed of the evolution of Mars and Mercury. It has inherited two strong, powerful forces. That which it has inherited from the cosmos of strength is expressed in Mars, and that which it has inherited from the cosmos of wisdom is expressed in Mercury. It, the earth itself, is to bring love through its mission. This love is to reveal itself gloriously as the result of the earth's development. This is a very profound thought of the apocalyptic. This is the profound thought which also ties in with the whole of the remaining earthly development. (See the fourth seal picture.)

Once again, take yourself back with me to the oldest Atlantic times, to the time of which we have said that the air was still permeated with water. Man was still built for the water. Only in the middle of Atlantis did he reach the point where he was able to tear himself away from the water and tread solid ground. Up to the time when the earth was in the middle of its development, we must regard water as the carrier of human development just as we would later regard the solid earth. The solid earth, so to speak, only became the scene of human development at a late stage. It is only half right to speak of the whole of Atlantis as a dry land. In many respects it is not covered by the sea, but by something in the middle, like air, which is densely filled with water, and this water-air belongs to the element in which man lived. Only later did he become able to live in the open air and to stand on solid ground. That was relatively recent. So that when we look at the development of the earth, we can say, symbolically speaking, that we have earth on one side and water on the other. That is the earlier time. And out of the water projects one of the forces up to the first half of the evolution, and out of the earth projects the other of the forces. Up to the middle of the fourth period we speak of the Martian forces, of the forces which, so to speak, the water gives, and we speak of the Mercury forces in the later period, when the solid earth gives the supporting forces. This is quite consistent with the idea that man is supported in his whole earthly mission by two pillars, those two pillars which you saw symbolically at the Munich Congress in the hall. These two pillars represent the two parts of the earth mission, the two inheritances that man has made from earlier times. And above them is symbolised that which is to be achieved through the earth itself: the love which lives, gloriously revealing itself, which is supported by these heritages.“ (Lit.:GA 104, p. 169ff)

The two witnesses named in the 11th chapter of the Apocalypse also stand for this. Moses represents wisdom and Elijah strength, which gives development its impulse, its direction.

„So we live there within an earth that has become spiritual. We see how this Jupiter time is already preparing itself in an exemplary way. We see how people are bringing the fruits of earthly existence with them, all this is pre-formed. And now we must be clear about the fact that within this spiritual state of the earth, on a higher stage of development, everything that was there before reappears. Above all, the carriers of the spiritual currents on which the earth is based, from which it has emerged, reappear. The bearers of these currents reappear alive. In Elijah and Moses, if we follow the Christian tradition, we see the personal representatives of that which appeared to us yesterday in the two pillars. Those who give the teachings of the two pillars are seen in Christian esotericism as Elijah and Moses. Elijah was the one who brought the message from the one pillar, the pillar of strength, Moses was the one who brought it from the pillar of wisdom. "Moses" means: wisdom or truth, and "Elijah" means - yes it is difficult to express the word in German - the pointing power, that which gives the direction, the impulse. Thus we see these two appearing in the world that has become spiritual, and indeed on the stage of development to which they will then have brought it. For just as at the Transfiguration, according to the Christian tradition, the Christ appeared between Moses and Elijah, so the whole process appears at the end of earth evolution in such a way that the Sun, the spiritual Sun of Love, the revelation of the earth mission of Love appears, supported by Sun-Mars and Moon-Mercury, by Elijah and Moses. As we saw yesterday the two pillars which at first appear before the initiate as the symbols of strength and wisdom, and above them the Sun of Love, so we can now imagine a little further on the development of the earth, and in its vitality, in its personality, that which is one pillar will appear to us as Elias, and the other as Moses, and what is above it as the actual Christ-principle.“ (Lit.:GA 104, p. 184f)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.