The Grand Gallery and the Ante-Chamber
In this next segment it will prove necessary for us to review both the Grand Gallery and the Ante-Chamber at the same time as they are uniquely connected to one another, this will become all the more evident when we take a closer look at their symbolic significance.
The Grand Gallery
“The Edgar brothers found it impossible to secure a photograph showing the entire northern end of the lofty Grand Gallery; but managed to get one which includes enough detail to furnish the very difficult perspective-lines of that most interesting passage—Plate CLXXIX. (We have also included the color photo above which likewise shows this unique feature.)
Following this indication of the proper perspective, K. Vaughan has been able to construct a drawing of the full height of the northern end of the Gallery, showing as nearly as possible a view of it as it looks to one standing about thirty feet up from the north wall on the inclined floor Plate CLXXX. This carefully executed drawing presents a pictorial idea of the appearance of the remarkable and noble Grand Gallery, truer to the reality than any we have seen. Nevertheless, the passage is so large, and the floor slopes away so steeply, that it is not possible for a picture to convey an accurate impression…Notice the open Well-mouth on the left side.
In the photograph on which K. Vaughan’s drawing is based, a number of the details of the Grand Gallery are shown very clearly. At the bottom (1) appears the upper half of the doorway of the First Ascending Passage. Six of the seven overlapping’s of the walls are shown; and it will be noticed that the lowermost on each of the east and west side walls (2) is not developed on the north wall (The red dotted line). Immediately above the third overlapping on the west (left) wall, there can be seen (3) a small section of one of the pair of shallow grooves, which are cut opposite each other in the masonry of the east and west walls, and which run the entire length of the Grand Gallery—Compare Plate XXIV. (This groove can be seen much better in the color photo at the top of the page.) The original purpose of this pair of corresponding grooves is difficult to imagine; the structural reason for their existence has not yet been satisfactorily explained; but no doubt there is some symbolical significance in connection with them, as there is in connection with many other mysterious features in this immense and generally little understood edifice.
Col. Howard Vyse, who first drew attention to these grooves, wrote with regard to them: “For the long grooves running on each side the whole length of the passage, it is difficult to assign a use; they are roughly cut, and therefore could not have been used for a sliding platform, for which, at first sight, they appear adapted. Perhaps they were made to receive scaffolding for the workmen employed in trimming off the sides of the passage.” But to this suggestion Professor C. Piazzi Smyth objected–” that the groove is represented so near the bottom of its overlapping sheet, that there was- little strength left to support any weight; and as the grooved portion has to a great extent perished, without any strain being put upon it,—we cannot regard it as any- thing connected with scaffolding, but rather with some symbolic meaning.”
The grooves are each 6 inches wide by ¾ of an inch deep; and the distance from the edge of the third overlapping up to the lower edge of the groove is, in each case, 5¼ inches. According to the measurements of Professor Flinders Petrie, the lower edges of these grooves run parallel with, and exactly midway between, the floor and roof of the Grand Gallery.
We have secured several photographs of the lower end of the Grand Gallery looking south, with the camera erected about two feet from the north wall. These show the sheer cut-off of the floor of the Grand Gallery immediately above the low doorway of the Horizontal Passage leading to the Queen’s Chamber. One of these (Plate CLXXXI) shows the floor of the Horizontal Passage, and John standing on it with his left hand resting against the sheer cut-off above the doorway (We have also included a good color photo of the same above).
Two other photographs, one of which was taken with a long-focus lens, and both taken with the camera erected on a higher level than in the one described, give a good impression of the long sloping floor, Ramps and side walls disappearing into the darkness above Plates CLXXXII and CLXXXIII. Judah, who stands on the floor of the Horizontal Passage, is leaning against the sheer cut-off; while John is seen ascending the very steep and slippery floor of the lofty Gallery, his feet placed in the shallow footholds, and his left hand holding on to the East Ramp.
The Ramps are exceedingly useful. The ancient builders carved out a series of large oblong holes on the upper surface of each of them (a few of which can be seen in the photographs), for what reason we do not know; but they enable one to take hold of the Ramps more firmly. As this passage represents the Gospel Dispensation, the Ramps symbolize the Grace of God, his “exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be partakers of the Divine nature.” —2 Pet. 1:4—See Par. 185. One misses them in the First Ascending Passage, which so well symbolizes the Law Dispensation. There, to help in the ascent and descent, we require taking advantage of the little irregularities on the walls, which have been caused by exfoliation. If it were not for these irregularities, and the footholds hewn in the floor, if the walls and floor of the First Ascending Passage had preserved their original smooth condition, it would be impossible for the average man to walk in it. (Today passage up the First Ascending Passage is made much easier due to the addition of hand railings and special floor planks allowing a greater foot hold as can be seen in the photo below).
On a former occasion the thought had occurred to me (Morton), while we were returning down the Grand Gallery from a journey to the King’s Chamber, that the course of the “backslider” is harder than that of the willing climber. To go back is more difficult than to go forward. I mentioned the thought to John, and he thoroughly agreed with me, for at the time he was holding the East Ramp firmly with his hands, and carefully sliding down one foot after another into the footholds!
But not only does the Grand Gallery symbolize the walk of the faithful followers of Christ Jesus during the Gospel Dispensation, by its appropriate steepness and other properties, but its precise length in Pyramid inches agrees, at the rate of an inch to a year, – with the duration of that Age; for the full length of the Gallery from the base of the north wall up the floor-line to the vertical line of the south wall, is very slightly over 1881½ Pyramid inches; and the total number of years from the date of the death and resurrection of our Lord, Spring of 33 A.D., till the end of the “times of the Gentiles“ in Autumn of 1914 A.D., is 1881½ years See Par. 126 and 127 (Explained below).
As already noted several times, the theoretically correct length of the Grand Gallery is 1881.5985+ Pyramid inches. This is little more than a tenth-part of an inch under the practical measure taken by Professor Flinders Petrie, whose published figures, converted to Pyramid units, is 1881.7164 Pyramid inches. (Professor C. Piazzi Smyth appears to have made his measurement a little too short, owing to his method of measuring with rods, instead of the surer method adopted by Professor Petrie of measuring with a long steel tape, the method which we ourselves have adopted; for we had a steel tape specially made for this purpose.)”
Great Pyramid Passages, Pages 369-372 par. 574-582
“Jesus was not born on the plane of condemnation and death represented by the Descending Passage, but on the plane of human perfection. He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners” Heb. 7:26. But he was born under the Law—Gal. 4:4. This would require that the Great Pyramid should indicate the date of his birth somewhere in the First Ascending Passage, and this is clearly shown in an ingenious and yet simple fashion. The Queen’s Chamber symbolizes human perfection. If the line of its floor be produced northwards till it touches the floor of the First Ascending Passage, the point of contact will necessarily be on the plane, or level, of human perfection. This point will, therefore, fulfil the required conditions—Plate XXIV.
That this point on the floor of the First Ascending Passage indicates the date of the birth of Jesus is confirmed by the following interesting fact. It has been shown that the First Ascending Passage and the Grand Gallery, symbolize respectively the Law Dispensation and the Gospel Dispensation. It follows that the point on the floor which is in line with the north wall of the Grand Gallery, and which marks, therefore, the end of the First Ascending Passage and the commencement of the Grand Gallery, indicates the date of the death and resurrection of Christ which closed the Law Dispensation, and ushered in the Gospel Dispensation—Col. 2:14. Now, if we measure along the floor of the First Ascending Passage from the point already determined as indicating the date of the birth of Jesus, to this line of demarcation which indicates the date of his death, the distance between the two is found to be 33½ inches, the exact length which corresponds to the duration of Jesus’ life on earth at the rate of an inch to a year.”
Great Pyramid Passages, Pages 83-84 par. 126-127
Symbolic significance of the Grand Gallery
“The death of Christ ended the Law, and the resurrection of Christ the third day after inaugurated the dispensation of grace, known to us as the Gospel Age. Just as the First Ascending Passage symbolizes the Law Age, so the Grand Gallery to which it leads symbolizes the Gospel Age.
Although both passages rise at the same steep angle, and although their floors are equally slippery, yet there is great difference between them in two important respects. In the first place, the Grand Gallery is far higher in the roof, and there is no necessity for one to stoop as when coming up the First Ascending Passage. This illustrates a manifest difference between the two Ages. The exacting requirements of the law was a burden to the Jew and bowed him down; but Christ became an end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believed; and those receiving the Gospel message experienced the glorious liberty wherewith Christ makes free. They passed, as it were, from the low, confined First Ascending Passage into the greater freedom of the Grand Gallery.
The other difference between the two passages is that, should one slip when ascending the Grand Gallery, he can cling to the side Ramps and steady himself until he regains his footing; but in the First Ascending Passage there is nothing to lay hold of should one feel his feet sliding. This again illustrates an important contrast between the two Ages; for although the followers of the Lord in the Gospel Age occasionally slip from their steadfastness through temporary lack of faith or from other causes, yet they have the “exceeding great and precious promises” of the Lord’s Word to sustain and reinstate them on the upward way. They have promises that the Lord will never forsake them; that if they confess their sins he is faithful and just to forgive them their sins and to cleanse them from all unrighteousness; that the Lord’s strength is made perfect in weakness. By these and many other precious promises, all who have taken up their cross and followed the Lord are enabled to overcome and ultimately “become partakers of the Divine nature.”
During the Jewish Age, on the contrary, those who sought to gain life by the law had no promise of aid should they slip even in one of the commandments, as the Apostle James declares: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law [in an endeavor to merit life thereby], and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all,” and is therefore under the curse of the law (James 2:10). Had Jesus not laid down his life in sacrifice he would have remained alone on the plane of human perfection; for, as we have seen, none of the human race, whether of the people of Israel or of the Gentiles, could escape the downward-road to death. But our Lord came to this earth for the very purpose of sacrificing his human life on behalf of the world. We read, therefore, that “He poured out his soul unto death,” and that “He gave his life a ransom for all.” He gave his flesh for the life of the world.
We may picture our Lord as standing on the level of the Queen’s Chamber floor, a perfect man in whom was no sin, holy, harmless, and un-defiled and separate from sinners, as far above the condemned human race as the horizontal line of the Queen’s Chamber floor stands above the downward line of the Descending Passage. Then at the due time he, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man. He laid down his life in sacrifice; and this sacrificial death, as we have said, is represented in the Pyramid by the Well-Shaft.” (xiii-xiv)
We will take a look at the Ante-Chamber in our next post.