Masonic Bible with Covers Carved in Abalone Shell

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Front Cover                                                             Back Cover

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The central piece of furniture in any well governed Masonic Lodge is the Holy Bible or Volume of Sacred Law (VSL).  Placed upon the Altar in the center of the Lodge room it pours forth upon the East,  West, and South its refulgent rays of Divine Truth.  The Bible is used among Freemasons as a symbol of the will of God, however it may be expressed.   It contains plain teaching for every rank of soul and state in life, which so far as they honestly and implicitly obey, they will be happy and innocent to the utmost powers of their nature, and capable of victory over all adversities, whether of temptation or pain.  So much is its importance in Masonic daily life that it is also called one of the "Three Great Lights of Freemasonry."  In a Lodge consisting entirely of Jews, the Old Testiment alone may be placed upon the Altar, and Turkish Freemasons make use of the Koran.  Whether it be the gospels to the Christians, the Pentateuch to the Israelite, the Koran to the Muslem, or the Vedas to the Brahman, it everywhere Masonically conveys the same idea-- that of the symbolism of the Divine Will revealed to man. 

In the ancient world, literary works were written on rolls or scrolls. The book form, called Codex, did not emerge until around the second century A.D.  The Old Testament books were written on skins. The New Testament books were originally written on papyrus.  Papyrus was made from the papyrus reed called a bulrush.

Bilbus or bulbos is the Greek word from which our word Bible comes. Biblos originally was the word for the papyrus bulrush itself; it then became the word for the papyrus writing material made from that bulrush; it then went on to mean a roll of papyrus; and finally it came to mean a book.

The work biblia was then coined to describe little books, and since the Scriptures are essentially that—a collection of little books—the word Bible was used to describe them.

This wonderful Masonic Bible pictured above was made by The Masonic History Company and has the complete Old and New Testaments.  There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament, a total of 66 books.  Included are a Preface by H. L. Haywood, FREEMASONRY AND THE BIBLE, A Bible Readers' Manual, A Sketch of the early Churches, the Ancient Versions of the Old Testament, New Testament Apocrypha, Hebrew Festivals, and has a full index and concordance.  Of course what makes this Bible so special is its intricately hand-carved abalone shell cover. This Bible has approximately 1,100 pages and measures 8 inches tall by 5 1/2 inches wide and is 2 1/4 inches deep.

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