The Hebrew word brad, derived from Shakan, meaning to dwell. A term applied by the Jews, especially in the Targums, to the divine glory which dwelt in the tabernacle and the Temple, and which was manifested by a visible cloud resting over the mercy-seat in the Holy of Holies. It first appeared over the Ark when Moses consecrated the Tabernacle; and was afterward, upon the consecration of the Temple by Solomon, translated thither, where it remained until the destruction of that building.
The Shekinah disappeared after the destruction of the first Temple, and was not present in the second. Christie, in his learned treatise on the Worship of the Elements, says that "the loss of the Shekinah, that visible sign of the presence of the Deity, induced an early respect for solar light as its substitute. " Now there is mueh that is significative of Masonic history in this brief sentence. The sun still remains as a prominent symbol in the Masonic system. It has been derived by the Masons from those old sunworshipers. But the idea of Masonic light is very different from their idea of solar light. The Shekinah was the symbol of the Divine glory; but the true glory of divinity is Truth, and Divine Truth is therefore the Shekinah of Freemasonry. This is symbolized by light, which is no longer used by us as a "substitute" for the Shekinah, or the Divine glory, but as its symbol-the physical expression of its essence.