I was there, proclaims wisdom in Wisdom of Solomon chapters 10 through 12. There from the beginning of time, when God formed creation. There at the initial fall in the garden, and when God destroyed the earth by flood, only to bring Noah and his family into a new creation. There when God led Israel out of Egypt in a column of fire by night and cloud by day, coming to dwell in the tabernacle. And there speaking through the prophets and dwelling in the temple, even to the end of the age when the New Jerusalem will be established with God as king.
It has been noted that this illumination suggests a comparison to the four elements: earth, water, fire, and air. It draws on previous illuminations, including the seven bars of creation in the first panel and a detail from Ezekiel’s vision of the restored temple in the final panel. The second shows the dove returning to Noah with an olive branch announcing the earth is coming back to life after the flood. Melded into the third panel like gold flame is the Hebrew word translated Shekinah, God’s presence. God first appears to Moses as fire in the burning bush, and it is this God who leads the Exodus as a column of fire and then reveals his glory to the people on Mount Zion.
Gold and silver bars link the four panels together. They are representative of the joint forces of divinity and wisdom, ever present in the unfolding drama of God’s relationship with humankind.