10. Rosslyn Chapel May Have Been Designed to Mimic the Temple of Solomon
The Temple of Solomon was built in Jerusalem around the 9th or 10th century BCE by Israel’s King Solomon, son of King David. It was a temple that housed in its innermost sanctum the Ark of the Covenant, over which the manifest presence of God rested. The exact plans for the temple are detailed in the Hebrew Bible, so there is little mystery about how it looked. It was destroyed a few centuries later by the Babylonians who ransacked Jerusalem and carried its inhabitants into exile. Then, King Herod rebuilt it, but this temple, too, was destroyed.
Plans of Rosslyn Chapel appear as if they could be overlaid directly on top of the blueprints of Solomon’s Temple, especially when one considers that the original intent was probably to make the chapel much, much larger than it presently is. When the Knights Templar guarded Jerusalem during the Crusades, they made as their headquarters the ruins of the Temple of Solomon, as it held significance to the order. Some of them may have traveled to Scotland to escape the persecution of their law in the fourteenth century. As such, it makes sense that Scotland’s most enigmatic structure would resemble Solomon’s Temple.
That said, nothing beyond the layout of the chapel’s plans imitates the Temple of Solomon. The temple was made out of cedar wood, not stone, and many of its details were overlaid with gold. Not so at Rosslyn, which may have had some paint originally but probably not gold leaf. Additionally, the builders of the temple would probably have been horrified at the idea of making so many carvings, particularly of pagan symbols. These carvings would probably have been seen as idolatrous and detracting from the worship of YHWH.