driedelingObviously, the architecture of modern temples has a lot in common with those in Old and New Testament times.

All have a certain trichotomy (three part division) comparable to the courtyard, the holy place and the holy of holies of the tabernacle that Moses was commanded to build in the desert. These zones increased in holiness and the Lord determined specific conditions to enter each area.

This three part division is also noticed when one looks at the proportions of the The Hague Temple at the front. One third is at the left of the entrance, the other two thirds at the right of the doorway.

These three parts are also reflected in the windows that are repeatedly grouped in threesomes, as are the three decorative circles above the windows and the three- stage tower upon which a statue of the angel Moroni is mounted.

Symbol of the kingdoms of glory

Among other things, this three part division is symbolic for the three kingdoms of glory as described in section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants: the telestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom and the celestial kingdom. The apostle Paul compared these different degrees of glory to the splendor of the stars, moon and sun when he spoke of the different kind of resurrected bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-42).

Symbol of the Godhead

This repetitious pattern is also a reflection of the three members of the godhead: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (First Article of Faith). Each of Them presides one of the three kingdoms of glory as explained in the Doctrine and Covenants.

“And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament… These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:71, 77).

“And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament… These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial… but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:81, 86, 112).

Symbol of perfection

Besides the above mentioned meanings, the circles above the windows are also a universal symbol of perfection. Christ asked the Nephites: “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). In the temple we learn how to become perfect.

Symbol of eternity

In a public discourse, Joseph Smith once used a ring as an image of eternity, “one eternal round,” without beginning or end (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 354).

Symbol of the navel of the earth

When one looks closely, one notices that each circle is engraved on a separate granite square element. Traditionally the circle is a symbol of heaven and the square an image of the earth with its four cardinal points. By placing the circle within the square the mingling of heaven and earth is pointed out. This is exactly what the temple is, a piece of heaven on earth. In various cultures temples are considered as the navel of the earth, the connection between heaven and earth.