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HEATHER - My husband bought a tie tack at an LDS bookstore that is two squares intertwined and a circle in the middle. On the paper it was attached to it was called the Melchizedek symbol. I did a search online but am afraid that I can not trust the information I have found. Can you explain where it came from and what it means. I was told it represented the four corners of the earth and the four tokens of the priesthood. I have also found a website that says this symbol is all over the San Diego Temple. Can you help me find out more?

JOEL - The only reliable statement I have about this is by Bible scholar Hugh Nibley in his article "Sacred Vestments", in the book Temple and Cosmos, which perhaps you have already seen where he says:

"Another Ravenna mosaic, C. A.D. 520, shows the priest-king Melchizedek in a purple cloak, offering bread and wine at the altar (Genesis 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.(Nibley, Sacred Vestments; pg.109.)"

Refering to it as the "so-called" seal of Melchizedek, reveals his uncertainty of what it actually represents. The picture below shows the cloth mentioned in the statement above, which shows the symbol on the table cloth:


Although Hugh Nibley is reported to have said that the symbol on the San Diego Temple is the seal of Melchizedek, I do not believe that the temple was built with the intention of incorporating the "Seal of Melchizedek" into its architecture. I think it is more coincidence than anything else that similar shapes were used in the temple design. See photos below of the symbols on the San Diego Temple:


Here is a link to a related website: Seal of Melchizedek

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