But if this identification be not accepted, where else can we find a place that will more closely fit with the description of the Middle Chamber of the Second Degree? The answer to this question is where the Initiate begins his Masonic career, that is, at the Porch. And we think the arguments for this strange answer will be found decisive.
If the Porch at K.S.T. was a tower-like structure, at least 60 cubits high, assuming that the height of the general entrance at the base was the same as that of the Sanctum Sanctorum, that is, 20 cubits, there remain 40 cubits more of tower above it. And in  trying to guess what these 40 cubits could be used for, we naturally feel that while there must have been a second room above the portal, it would be absurd to suppose this second room to be anything like 40 cubits high. It is far more likely that the Porch consisted of three parts, viz., the portal beneath, a Middle Chamber 20 cubits high, and a Third Chamber at the top. The Septuagint and Syriac versions actually give 20 cubits as the height of the Portal. We would make all the three stories of the same height. The space was there, and it is inconceivable that it was wasted. The three things must have existed, although they are not referred to anywhere. Indeed, the fact that the two Chambers over the portal are so mysteriously left unmentioned adds to their importance, for this silence suggests secrecy.
Moreover, the threefold division would be in consonance with both the three rows of side chambers on the sides and with the triple form of the Temple itself, as already shown.
Again, as far as we know, in the Porch there was no staircase by which one could go to the top.
This means that we must look elsewhere for some means of access, some way of reaching  that Middle Chamber and the Chamber immediately above it. The only means of ascent in K.S.T. of which we can find any record is the Winding Staircase on the S. side of the Temple. And our Traditional History refers us to it, for we read: "They got there by the Porchway or Entrance on the S. side. After our Ancient Brethren had entered the Porch they arrived at the foot of the Winding Staircase which led to the Middle Chamber . . ." Hence it is evident that there was a means of ascending from the lower to the higher Chambers; from the ground floor to the Middle Chamber of our tradition, and, by implication, from the S. side to the upper rooms in the Porch, in the E.
From this, then, it is clear that the real Middle Chamber where the secret symbols of Freemasonry were kept, and of which the F.C.'s are supposed to catch a glimpse, was in the second story; and as this Chamber could not have been any of the side - Chambers so far discovered, which were too small, it must have been in the one immediately above the Porch, which measured 20 by 10 cubits, or approximately 30 by 15 feet, and is never associated with particular individuals.
 This enables us to understand what happened at the Initiation of a Mason in those days. The Candidate came as an ordinary worshipper by the Porchway at the E. end of the Temple. His faith in the G.A.O.T.U. was a sine qua non. He then passed by some passage of which nothing is said, and ascended three steps, which brought him to the level of the first Chambers. (These steps are suggestive of a ladder.) There was a landing, and, on turning round, he saw a long corridor; along which he had to perambulate, thus passing in view before the occupants of the side - Chambers, to show that he was a fit and proper person to be admitted into the Order. He would now be able to fraternize with the Masons in general. We are not told what secrets were imparted to him at that stage, but having gone through that first ceremony, he was now an aspirant to the higher rank of Craftsman.
On coming the second time, he would be permitted to enter by the S. entrance, and not as before by the Porch. He naturally would place himself under the guidance of the J.W., who had to prepare and instruct him. At the S. side he became acquainted with the existence of the Winding Staircase, but he had already  gone up three steps, and those three steps would count as steps of the Staircase. He now went up the second flight, consisting of five steps, these corresponding to the height of the Chambers, which was five cubits. This brought him to another landing, where he met the S.W.
There was another turning and another perambulation S., W., and N., for the same purpose as before, and this brought him to the Middle Chamber in the E., that is, to the Hall immediately above the portal. But before he could penetrate into this wonderful "Middle Chamber" the S.W. subjected him to a certain ordeal.
When he had been admitted he would rank as a Craftsman, and he would get a glimpse of a certain mystic symbol, either in the Chamber, or in the sky through the Window, perhaps both; but that would not be the end. There was still another flight of steps to go up, one that consisted of seven steps, another landing, another turn, another perambulation along the corridors on the S., W., and N. sides of the Temple; and that brought him to the roofless Hall at the top of the noble Porch, and on the E. side, where the wonderful works of the Almighty were displayed to his view.
 Here he had to go through a most serious trial of his fortitude and fidelity, the supreme lesson of the Craft. Presumably it was done after dark, and when it was over he would see the Bright Morning Star, to inspire him with fresh hope and enthusiasm.
This puts an entirely new complexion on the meaning of the name "Winding Staircase"; obviously, even if it was not spiral, the many turns and winds in it would amply justify that name. It was now that the M.M. obtained the knowledge which distinguishes him from a F.C. In the roofless Hall he would be able to study the stars, and Astronomy is the last of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences. But as we learn in the R.A. Chapter, what the M.M. finds at the top of the Porch (the highest point reached in the Craft) will have to be supplemented with what he will one day discover in the depth beneath.
For it is a fact that the Freemason's domain comprises the "high hills and low vales . . . and many other secret places." (Lecture I.) We may be led to the lofty top of the noble Porch, and culminate in the caternarian arch, or we may be brought down to the bosom of  the earth; indeed, it is not until we have had both experiences that the innermost Mystery is finally and completely made plain to the spirit of man.
Our investigation, then, shows that the
symbol of "the Middle Chamber" is a highly complex one,
combining three distinct historic allusions: one to K.S.T., that
is, to the Holy Place as the place where the devout Israelite
was purified; secondly, to the Middle Row of Side- Chambers built
against the walls of the Temple which were for the use of the
Menatschin; and, thirdly, to a mysterious Hall on the second floor
of the Porch, that is, just above the entrance, about which nothing
definite is on record, as we might have expected if the Mysteries
were held there.
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