Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
What Church Members Should Know About MASONRY
Where did Masonry originate? Some say Solomon originated it, others say Moses. Can this be true? Here is the shocking answer from writings of the Masons themselves!
by Jack R. Elliott
MASONS place much stress on the statement that "Freemasonry is both HONORABLE and ANCIENT." But when we search into the recorded history of the Lodge, the picture is somewhat confused, and one is not overly impressed with either its honor or its age.
"The precise origin of the society has yet to be ascertained," says the Encyclopedia Britannica, "and is not likely to be, as the early records are lost.
Nevertheless, much has been written to justify the claim of its antiquity and honorable character. Some writings are BASED upon actual records which date back to the sixteenth century, but most have served only to amuse or repel inquirers.
The earliest work on the subject was published in London in 1723 by the "Rev." James Anderson, and it states: "Grand Master Moses often marshaled the Israelites into a regular and general Lodge while in the wilderness...King Solomon was Grand Master of the Lodge at Jerusalem...Nebuchadnezzar became the Grand Master Mason," and many more pages of similar absurdities are to be found. These statements are quoted and declared absurd, ridiculous, and extravagant by no less authority than the Encyclopedia Britannica (see "Freemasonry," p. 732). Undaunted Masons continue to make such claims, and many members of the Lodge believe them implicitly.
Other "appeals to antiquity" written during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and offered in abbreviated form by the Encyclopedia Americana (under "Masonic Fraternity," p. 348) are (a) that the history of the race was the story of Masonry, beginning with the migration from the Garden of Eden; (b) that Freemasonry sprang from the Patriarchal period; (c) that the society was the successor of the ancient mysteries of the Orient; (d) that the temple of Solomon was its cradle; (e) that the Crusaders and the Knights Templar carried it forward from their times; (f) that the Roman colleges of artificers and builders of the Middle Ages handed down the craft to posterity.
When we examine the form and ceremony of Freemasonry, we find a marked resemblance between it and the old guild systems which flourished in Europe at the time Freemasonry came into existence.
These guilds played an important part in the social, religious, and political life. They, in turn, were patterned after the earlier Roman guilds or fraternities. The Roman guilds seem to have been chiefly religious and political societies, while the associations of workmen known as the Roman colleges of artificers were hereditary castes enjoying certain privileges and bound to certain duties -- Encyclopedia Americana, caption, "Guild." Even these Roman guilds and colleges are not the oldest forms of such societies, but seem to be a connecting link between ancient pagan societies and the more modern ones.
Freemasonry is merely a modern fraternity carrying on the outward form of these older societies. One did not necessarily develop into the other, but each has had a part in maintaining the early pagan doctrines and social practices. Some of the practices commonly found among them are: oaths of admission, strict requirements for admission and continued membership, special privileges for the initiates which are zealously protected from outsiders, closed meetings for members which are often of social and religious nature, tokens and secret signs by which they recognize one another, and mutual assistance among members in time of need.
Since these practices are so common to Freemasonry, and since Freemasonry, as we know it, apparently came into being at the time the guilds were going out of style, the Lodge has obviously borrowed their structure. It is a convenient framework in which to conceal the practice of the ancient mysteries.
It was not until 1717 A.D. that the Mother Grand Lodge of England was formed. This central lodge was established in order that there might be central authority and standardization of practice. The smaller local lodges might have existed for several centuries prior to the establishment of this Mother Grand Lodge.
Shortly after the local lodges became organized into grand lodges, Freemasonry came into the contempt of the Roman Church.
Offended Roman Church
Their independent attitude toward church authority, which had supported the earlier guilds, undoubtedly brought about the schism. The Old Charges Of Masonry written about 1738 states: "In ancient times the Christian Masons were charged to comply with the Christian (Roman Catholic) usages of each country where they traveled and worked: but Masonry being found in all nations, even of diverse religions, is now generally charged to adhere to that religion in WHICH ALL MEN AGREE."
This attitude, along with the threat it imposed, infuriated the Roman Church. Forbidding loyal Catholics to join Masonic ranks was not enough, for to do so cut off its source of information and the Catholic Church no longer knew what went on behind Masonic doors. Lodges could then be a real threat to Catholic supremacy and could become foreign outposts in Catholic countries.
In 1738, the same year that the Masonic charge was written, Pope Clement XII issued a Bull of excommunication entitled, The Condemnation Of The Society Of Conventicles De Liberi Muratori, or of the FREEMASONS.
The reasons for the condemnation are printed in the Catholic Encyclopedia under the caption, "Masonry," and repeated in abbreviated form in a booklet entitled, "May Catholics Be Masons?", as follows:
(1) "Freemasonry has peculiar UNSECTARIAN NATURALISTIC character by which theoretically and practically it undermines the Christian faith (or Catholic faith) ... creating religious indifferentism and contempt for ORTHODOXY AND ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY.
(2) "The inscrutable secrecy, and the oaths of secrecy and fidelity of Masonry and Masonic work, cannot be justified in their scope, their object, or their form, and cannot, therefore, induce any obligation.
(3) "Such societies involve a grave danger for the SECURITY AND TRANQUILLITY OF THE STATE AND FOR THE SPIRITUAL HEALTH OF SOULS."
From the time of Clement XII, seven supreme pontiffs of the Catholic Church have repeated the condemnation of Freemasonry for substantially the same reasons. This accounts for the enmity between the two organizations. There may very likely have been another MORE IMPORTANT reason for the Catholic action which the Pope would not dare mention. The Masonic devotion toward searching out the ancient mysteries makes him immediately aware of the great similarity between these Catholic mysteries and that of the Ancients. Rome could not afford to encourage such an open exposure of the source of her doctrine. Her symbols of crosses, circles, trinities, holidays and statutes begin to reveal secrets not allowed outside her most private chambers.
Modern Masonic History
Soon after the formation of the Mother Grand Lodge in England in 1717, grand lodges were set up in Ireland, 1725, and in Scotland, 1736. These lodges became the centers of Masonry and began to establish other grand lodges all over the world. The Grand Lodge of England instituted its first lodge in Paris in the year 1732, but one was formed still earlier on the Continent at Gibraltar 1728-1729. Others were also opened in North America in 1730, Germany 1733, Portugal 1735, Holland 1735, Switzerland 1740, Denmark 1745, Italy 1765, Russia 1771, and Sweden 1773. In most of these countries, grand lodges were subsequently created and continue to this date, except in those countries, such as Italy, where no Masonic Lodges are permitted.
Lodges were constituted in India from 1730 (Calcutta), 1752 (Madras), and 1758 (Bombay); in Jamaica 1742, Antigua 1738, and St. Christopher 1739, by the grand lodges of England, Ireland, and Scotland.
Shortly afterward these grand lodges had representatives at work throughout the whole civilized world.
In North America, Masons flourished in individual lodges from a very early date. They had little regard for warrants and charters, and no attempt at organization was made until the Grand Lodge was established in Pennsylvania in 1730. This grand lodge, the first in America, was over the territories of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
It was under the direction of Daniel Coxe, who was appointed "Provincial Grand Master" on June 5, 1730 by the Duke of Norfolk, Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England.
It became known as the York, or American, Rite.
The rival grand lodges in England, together with those of Ireland and Scotland, chartered lodges everywhere in the new country.
After flourishing for almost a century, Freemasonry in the United States suffered a severe setback in 1826.
William Morgan Murder
In this year (1826) an ex-Mason named William Morgan attempted to reveal the mysteries of Freemasonry and give to the outside world a description of the ceremonies observed in the Masonic Lodges of the first six or seven degrees.
Morgan had presented the material to a printer by the name of David C. Miller to be published in book form when the thing became known. The contents of this expose are still available from the Ezra A. Cook company in a book entitled Freemasonry Exposed, by Captain William Morgan.
The mere rumor that such a book was to be published created much astonishment and indignation among the Masonic fraternity of western New York. Particularly incensed were those who had associated with Morgan in the meetings of the Lodges.
Great efforts were immediately made by a large number of Freemasons to stop publication of the book. First, they had Morgan arrested for debt, then they swore a complaint against him for larceny. While he was being prosecuted, they searched his apartments for the manuscript, but in vain. Finally, they kidnapped him from a jail at Canandaigua and took him forcibly by means of a closed carriage to Fort Niagara, which was then unoccupied, and there murdered him in cold blood.
Even this drastic action of the Masonic brethren did not succeed in suppressing Morgan's expose. Part of it had already been put to press by Miller, and the remainder of the manuscript remained undiscovered by the Masons, who searched his premises. This and other outrages, among which were the burning of the printing office, alarmed the citizens of western New York. Several arrests of the supposed kidnappers took place, and persons arrested were brought to trial. These records could be verified by checking the court files.
Among those arrested, five men, including the SHERIFF of Niagara County, were found guilty of participation in the abduction, and were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. The murderers, however, remained UNPUNISHED.
Meantime, the whole book had been published, and its contents had made public the somewhat ferocious oaths of Freemasons. Excitement was immediate and immense. It spread all over the country and lasted many years. Freemasonry became unpopular and many persons, including a great number of ministers, withdrew from the Lodge. Many lodges and chapters were disbanded, while their officers and members publicly renounced all future connection with the Masonic order.
The murderers of Morgan, although known, were never prosecuted. This fact kept before the people by a powerful political party which arose at that time, fanned the growing anti-Masonic feeling.
PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE on the part of the few remaining Masons paid off, however. A few years later the thing died down and Freemasonry began again to flourish. It was explained that the murderers of Morgan were simply ruffians and by no means representative of the main body of the fraternity.
As the years passed and the Society once again gained repute, its membership grew to nearly six million members and boasted some of the most famous and important men of our nation. Most presidents of the United States have been Masons. In its ranks today we find ministers, doctors, lawyers, jurists, politicians; in short, the most influential men of our time. Freemasonry is no INCONSEQUENTIAL secret Society!
Masonically Preferred History
While this is all that history gives us on the origin of Masonry, the accepted origin among Masons varies from lodge to lodge. The origin accepted by any particular group seems to be the one PREFERRED by most of the members in that group. Most of the lodges in the United States claim to be Christian in character and therefore claim a Biblical origin. Even here they cannot agree as to specific time or founder. Some say Adam was its founder, others say Moses or Solomon.
Some of the more earnest, and serious minded claim the Ancient Essenes originated Masonry largely because of the similarity of their doctrine. The Essenes were noted for their early practice of mixing Old Testament teaching with the traditions of the ancient mysteries. Their apparently followed the Cabalistic doctrines, the written form of which is referred to by Masons as the KABALA, and is admittedly a chief source of Masonic doctrine. The Kabala is admired by Masons as being "a doctrine so logical, so simple, and at the same time so absolute" (Morals And Dogma, p. 745). They picture the Bible (Old Testament) as containing "allegories expressed in an incomplete and veiled manner and as being the RELIGIOUS SCIENCE of the Hebrews." "The Pentateuch and the prophetic poems (Psalms) were merely elementary books of doctrine, morals, or liturgy"; according to them, "and the true secret and traditional philosophy was only written afterward (in the Kabala) ."
Today in modern "Christian" lodges it is becoming more popular to accept the two Johns -- John the Baptist and the Apostle John -- as the ones who started the first lodge. This absurdity comes from a confusion of MODERN interpretations of the symbols pictured in Figure 11, with their ancient meaning. With tongue in cheek Lodge "Masters" teach their "Christian brethren" that the Lodge is dedicated to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, who are pictured on the border of a circle.
The large circle supposedly circumscribes the candidate who is represented by the dot in the center. These so-called patron saints of Masonry represent two "perfect parallels" in Christianity as well as Masonry. Upon the vertex of the circle rests the book of the "Holy Scriptures" which points out the whole duty of man. They moralize that a Mason should guard his actions so that he does not stray outside the guidance of these great authorities. "If he keeps himself thus circumscribed," they reason, "it is impossible that he should materially err."
If this were the true meaning of these symbols and if Masons lives were truly patterned by them, the Lodge would have the upright character of which it boasts. In reality it is only the popular meaning used to satisfy the large numbers who go through the Lodge without seeking the deeper meanings of Masonic philosophy. These are only "vulgar" members who, according to Masons, have swarmed into the Temple for selfish gain (see the work by Pike, p. 37) and are not capable of learning the deeper meanings.
Adept Claim Paganism "Polluted" by the Bible
Most of these modern Bible additions came into the Blue Lodge through the York Rite. The adept of the Scottish Rite deplore their introduction as pollutions of the ancient (pagan) rites.
Albert Pike, the great Scottish Rite authority, said in his book, Morals And Dogma, p. 17, that it was a waste of time even to comment upon this incongruous (Bible) meaning. He showed (p. 105) that the parallel lines do not represent the two Johns at all and that the Bible was added only recently. He said the parallel lines represent the same thing that the two columns, Jachin and Boaz, do. All have a more recondite and FRUITFUL meaning in ancient symbol. For the true answer he suggests that the adept should look in the Kabalah (the supposedly entire, "perfect," unique theology in secret traditions which are expressed by the half-pagan Kabala, or Cabala) .
Later in his book (p. 429) Pike revealed that "two parallel lines which support the circle of the Lodge" are from an ancient symbol consisting of a ring supported by two serpents. This was supposedly "emblematical of the world, protected by the power and wisdom of the Creator."
You and I of course know that a serpent represents Satan the Devil. This symbol then shows that the ancient pagans were actually worshipping Satan as the creator and sustainer of this world!
Pike further shows (p. 506) that the two columns called Jachin and Boaz and the parallel lines actually represent older pagan symbols: the solstices, Cancer and Capricorn, the two gates of heaven, the two pillars of Hercules. He further showed that the point in the circle represented the sun god (Osiris). These parallel lines represent limits -- good and bad, positive and negative active and passive, light and darkness -- beyond which the sun god will not go.
This proves conclusively where Masonic symbols come from and that their leaders KNOW where they come from. Their meaning is derived from the same diabolical tenets by which Satan has posed himself as an angel of light to rule over men. Men of all ages have flocked into these temples to worship him; many in ignorance, but some knowing full well what they were doing.
Why would they do such a thing? Because men of this understanding and ability can become "Masters" and even "Grand Masters" of the Lodge. They can gain great power and influence in this world which they could not accomplish in any other way. It is the price they pay for greatness.
Why the Wolf Wears Sheep's Clothing
Albert Pike expressed Masonic understanding of the practice which cloaked the Ancient Pagan Mysteries in Christian sounding names. In his instructions (Morals and Dogma, p. 247) to the "Knights Of The East And West," the seventeenth degree of Masonry, he said that at the time of John the religious systems were growing much alike because, in the great world ruling empires which existed since Alexander, the walls of separation between Greece, Egypt, Persia, and India were thrown down and the people intermingled everywhere.
He claimed the West eagerly connected their faith with those of the East (this should not have been too difficult because they both came from the same old Babylonish source) and the Orient hastened to learn the traditions of Rome. The Jews and Egyptians -- before, the most exclusive of all peoples -- yielded to that eclecticism which prevailed among their masters, the Greeks and Romans.
Thus men who embraced Christianity began to mingle the old mysteries with the new -- a mixture of Christianity and Philosophy, or Apostolic teaching and traditions of Mythology.
Truth for the Simple -- Mystery for the Wise
Pike went on to explain the Masonic view (p. 248) that: the Apostles, speaking to mankind in general, stressed only the articles of the VULGAR FAITH; but transmitted the MYSTERIES to "superior minds" from generation to generation in esoteric traditions. To this new science of mysteries was given the name Gnosis (or Gnostic).
Pike confirms the fact that their basic doctrine and ideas were derived from Plato, Philo, the KABALAH, and the sacred books of India and Egypt.
What this amounts to is a bold-faced admission that most Christian and Masonic doctrine is a mixture of Bible teaching and pagan mysteries, and that the wise among them favor the mysteries as being deeper and wiser and spurn the plain Bible Scripture as being fit only for the vulgar masses. A rite, parable, letter, number, figure, word, etc. became a symbol, and he who had the KEY OF SCIENCE would interpret each according to the light he possessed.
The uneducated and narrow-minded within their ranks heedlessly take them at face value while those who have ears to hear receive the "divine mysteries" because they have received the "sacred initiation" and have the intelligence to understand the deeper meaning.
This thinly veiled admission by Masonry's most famous apostle, Albert Pike, explains why Masons call their temple Solomon's Temple when it was in actuality patterned after the greatest of pagan temples -- the earth covered by the cloudy canopy of the heavens. The divinity which they worship within its walls is the sun, of which they blandly write.
"There which sets its morning throne in the golden East; no dome sublime as that of Heaven; no beauty so fair as that of the verdant, blossoming earth; no place, however invested with the sanctities of old time, like that home which is hushed and folded within the embrace of the humblest wall and roof."
By the same practice they call Hiram Abiff the WIDOW'S SON and quote I Kings 7:13-14. His name and situation have certain similarities which can be twisted until they ALMOST appear to fit, even though many absurdities exist.
Hiram was a very skilled artificer, and the building of the temple would be a convenient project for the characters of the legend to be engaged in, since the early Lodge was supposed to have been engaged in the building and decorating of splendorous stone structures.
A careful study of the Holy Scriptures, however, reveals that this Hiram Abiff has nothing in common with the Hiram mentioned in I Kings. Neither is the temple around which the legendary story unfolds, the temple of Solomon. The temple of God, built by Solomon, was FINISHED, but the one in the legend remained UNFINISHED. The names were just added in "friendly" pagan-Christian tradition.
There is a temple in antiquity, however, which is famous because it was never completed. The account is given in Genesis 11. It is the TOWER OF BABEL! It was built so that its top (also the head or ruler) might reach unto heaven (rule supreme), and to make for its builders a name, lest they be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth (see verse 4).
Over the incomplete state of this tower, one SO-CALLED virgin may well afford to weep, because it wrecked, for a time, her plans and those of her husband who hoped to be that head. These two are the Nimrod and Semiramis mentioned earlier.
Virgin, Column and Time Significant
The symbol of the Virgin, Column and Time presented at the end of the legend is also quite significant. In Masonic allegory, "The beautiful virgin (Semiramis) weeping over the broken column, denoted the unfinished temple (tower) and the untimely death of our Grand Master Hiram Abiff (Nimrod)."
Albert Pike continues: "The book open before her, [means] that his VIRTUES there lay on perpetual record." "The sprig of acacia (the pagan symbol of LIFE which, in one account, led her to discover her husband's grave) in her right hand denotes the timely discovery of the body." (The body which the ancient pagans tried to preserve, and which action gave rise to another pagan philosophy -- that SO LONG AS A BODY REMAINED IN A STATE OF PRESERVATION, THE PERSON'S SPIRIT CONTINUED TO EXIST.)
"The urn in her left, that his ashes were there safely deposited (attempts to preserve the body otherwise must have failed) to perpetuate the remembrance of the amiable, distinguished, and exemplary character." (It was explained earlier that this fallen god was supposedly raised to immortal life and became the sun god.)
"And Time behind her standing, unfolding her ringlets (she grew older) and counting her hair (Other, more secret accounts show him anointing her with Ambrosia, the food of the gods, which supposedly gave her eternal life.), that TIME (the god of time, Osiris), PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE WILL ACCOMPLISH ALL THINGS." Thus it was that pagans made a noble attempt to cover up their disgrace, and Satan patched up his counterfeit that he might continue to palm himself off as the god of the universe.
Pagans have continued to use the idea that TIME, PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE will accomplish all things. By it (theory of evolution) they try to deny the creation of the universe by a Supreme Creator, and in so doing they practice their teaching by patiently forcing the theory upon a gullible, hapless generation.
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