John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, was an experienced statesman with a passion for this fledgling democracy.  His personal study of the public sector led him to the conclusion that the secret oaths of Freemasonry would easily undermine an impartial judicial process.  Police, lawyers, statesmen, and judges holding secret allegiances beyond the constitution could undermine the due process of law.  He further believed that the oaths and obligations were horrific, and did not reflect wisdom in a more civilized age.  He saw them as a reversion to the more barbaric tendencies within humanity.

Adams’ criticism of Freemasonry came primarily on secular grounds arising from his experience and study of Masonic obligations.  He believed that the entrance-level obligations were enough to prove the entire organization was built on foundation that was contrary to its stated purpose…to make good men better.

The obligations in question were taken in the first three degrees called the Blue Lodge, which all Masons take as they enter the the Craft.  Adams wrote extensively on the issue, sharing his concerns in personal correspondence with many people. 

The murder of William Morgan in 1826 at the hands of fellow Masons only propelled Adams to greater efforts to highlight the level of violence espoused in the oaths and obligations of Freemasonry. 

Adams formulated his five main criticisms of Freemasonry based upon the violent oaths of the Blue Lodge degrees.  Of the first of these degrees Adams stated, “The Entered Apprentice’s oath was sufficient to settle in my mind the immoral character of the institution.”1 and “that the Entered Apprentice oath, obligation and annexed penalty, was in itself vicious–and such as ought never to be administered by man to man.” 2

Adams’ five concerns regarding the oaths of the Blue Lodge were addressed in a set of letters to William L. Stone of New York. His five arguements can be summarized as follows:

1. They were extra judicial oaths and were in violation of the laws of the land.

Adams believed that the oaths of the Entered Apprentice degree were, in short, illegal. They pledged the brother to illegal secrecy in violation of the clear judicial laws of the United States and all civilized countries.  Adams stated, “The oaths introduce him to a “secret and exclusive favor, assistance and fidelity to the brotherhood and brothers of the craft.”3 Adams affirmed that a witness in a court of law is sworn to tell the whole truth, not to be selective, as per prior Masonic obligations.  Adams objected to the fact that Masons swore not to reveal anything related to the brotherhood if given under a Masonic sign, except in matters of murder or treason.  Adams states:

“The Entered Apprentice promises never to reveal to any person under the canopy of heaven, that which the laws of his country may, the next day after he makes the promise, make it his duty to reveal to any court of justice before which he may be summoned to appear, or to any committee of the legislature of the state in which he resides, or of the Union.” 4

Furthermore, “…the Master Mason promises to keep the secrets of a brother Master Mason, as secure and inviolable as if they were in his own breast, murder and treason excepted.” Adams went on to say, “ The naming of them emphatically (murder and treason) leaves all other crimes included in the promise and excluded from the exception.” In his fourth letter, Adams showed that every other crime communicated by a brother Master Mason, and “communicated to him as a Masonic secret”, was to be held in confidence.  However, according to Adams, it is the duty of a citizen to reveal any crimes of which he is aware.

2. They were in violation of the precepts of Jesus to not make vows.

Although most of the concerns of Adams rest securely in the secular argument, he was well enough aware of the spiritual implications of the Lodge to register this comment:

“If, as in this age but too often happens, he enters the Lodge a skeptic, the use of the Bible there, if it have any effect on him, will turn him out to be a confirmed infidel.”5

Furthermore, Adams warned that the Lodge’s use of the Bible should, to a trained Christian, raise red flags.

“If the candidate has been educated to a sincere and heart-felt reverence for religion and the Bible, and if he exercises his reason, he knows that all the tales of Jachin and Boaz, of Solomon’s Temple, of Hiram Abiff and Jubela, Jubelo and Jubeluem, are impostures–poisons poured into the perennial fountain of truth–traditions exactly resembling those reprobated by Jesus Christ, as making the word of God on none effect.” 6

3. The swearing of secrecy came before the secrets were ever revealed to the candidate.

Adams called into question the integrity of the organization, challenging them on this issue of secrecy.  Before a candidate was made aware of the secrets of the craft, he was sworn to keep them secret, upon penalty of self-mutilation. The candidate, when he took the oath, was kept in total ignorance of what was contained in the secrets of the craft. Therefore, he did not know the content or extent of the oaths he took. “He is sworn to keep secret what he does not know.”7 Adams believed that it was unfair, and inappropriate. “It promises light–its performance is darkness.” 8 Initiates, according to Adams, must be shocked with the incongruence of taking upon themselves personal mutilation to keep secrets, which seemed relatively mundane.

4. They included vicious penalties, leading to death.

The oath in question was as follows:

“All this, I promise and swear–binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my throat cut across from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by its roots, and my body buried in the rough sand of the sea, at low water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours.”

Adams also pointed out the Master Mason’s oath, which stated:

“The Master Mason’s penalty is to have his body severed in two in the midst, and divided to the north and south, his bowels burnt to ashes in the center, and the ashes scattered before the four winds of heaven, that there might not the least track or trace of remembrance remain among men or Masons of so vile and perjured a wretch, as I should be.” 9

If the descriptions of the penalties were somewhat figurative, Adams asked why they were still continued: “Are the words so charming in themselves”, that they cannot be replaced by more civilized, less violent terms?” 10

5. The horrific ideas brought to the mind by these penalties

Adams believed that in civilized society the idea of mangling a body is indeed horrific. The very thought of it seems out of step with an organization seeking to bring the best out in people.  Freemasonry suggests that it makes “good men better.”  Does this necessitate the  violence-specific language of the ritual obligations?  Sensitivity to violence in the family and community suggest that these obligations are out of step.

Adams states that the Constitution of the United States forbids “the infliction of cruel or unusual punishments”.  The Mason swears consent to “ the mutilation of his own (body), for the breach of an absurd and senseless secret.”11 The obligations are clearly cruel and indeed unusual.

 These vows actually constitute a curse upon one’s life. They are violent in nature, and give tacit authority for the penalties to be enforced for breaches in secrecy.

Do these vows exist today in the Blue Lodge degrees?

Excerpt from Entered Apprentice Degree obligation:

“To all of which I solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without any hesitation, mental reservation, or secret evasion of mind in me whatsoever; binding myself under no less a penalty than that of having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out, and with my body buried in the sands of the sea at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, should I ever knowingly or willingly violate this, my solemn Obligation of an entered Apprentice. So help me God and make me steadfast to keep and perform the same.” 12

Excerpt from The Fellowcraft Degree obligation:

“To all of which I do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without any hesitation, mental reservation, or secret evasion of mind in me whatsoever, binding myself under no less a penalty than having my left breast torn open, my heart and vitals taken thence, and with my body given as prey to the vultures of the air, should I ever knowingly, or willingly, violate this, my solemn Obligation of a Fellow Craft. So help me God and make me steadfast to keep and perform the same.” 13

Excerpts from Master Mason Degree Obligation:

“Furthermore: I do promise and swear that I will keep the secrets of a worthy Brother Master Mason, when communicated to me as such, as secure and inviolate in my breast as they were in his before communication.”

“Furthermore: I do promise and swear that I will not have illicit carnal intercourse with a Master Mason’s wife, widow, mother, sister or daughter, nor suffer it to be done by another if in my power to prevent.” (note: Just Master Masons?)

“Furthermore: I do promise and swear that I will not be present at the initiating, passing, or raising of an old man in dotage, a young man under age, an irreligious libertine, an atheist, a person of unsound mind, or a woman, knowing them to be such.” (Note: Why not women?)

“To all of which I do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without any hesitation, mental reservation, or secret evasion of mind in me whatsoever; binding myself under no less a penalty than having my body severed in twain, my bowels taken thence, and with my body burned to ashes, and the ashes thereof scattered to the four winds of Heaven, that there might remain neither track, trace nor remembrance among man or Masons of so vile and perjured a wretch as I should be, should I ever knowingly or willfully violate this, my solemn Obligation of a Master Mason. So help me God and make me steadfast to keep and perform the same.” 14

2nd letter to William Sloan, John Quincy Adams, August 29, 1832
1st letter to William Sloan, John Quincy Adams, August 25th, 1832
2nd letter to William L. Slone, John Quincy Adams, August 29, 1832
4th letter to William L. Slone, John Quincy Adams, September 1832
2nd letter to William L. Slone, John Quincy Adams, August 29, 1832
2nd letter to William L. Sloan, John Quincy Adams, August 29, 1832
First letter to William L. Slone, John Quincy Adams, August 25th, 1832
2nd letter to William L. Sloan, John Quincy Adams, August 29, 1832
1st letter to William L. Stone, John Quincy Adams, August 25th, 1832
4th letter to William Slone, John Quincy Adams, 1832
1st letter to William L. Slone, John Quincy Adams, August 25th, 1832
Entered Apprentice Degree, State of Nevada, circa 1986, p.9
Fellowcraft Degree, State of Nevada, circa 1986, 9
Master Mason Degree, State of Nevada, circa 1986, p.10

It is hard to understand.

It is difficult to understand how Christians can remain in the Masonic Lodge with the wealth of information that points to an occult foundation of its teachings.  Just a tour through Heredom, the critical journal of the Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction, can easily point this out.

I understand that most men do not know because they have not been told, or they do not really want to know.

A few years back a Masonic officer of education told a few of us that Freemasonry was not a religion, because it did not observe the sacraments.  I happened to have a copy of the Masonic baptismal service with me at the time, which I passed over for his inspection.   Instead of admitting his oversight, he simply asked how I got my hands on it.  So much for education.

Not only is there a Masonic baptismal service, but there is a ceremony that mimics the Lord’s Supper.  This should be a real concern.  It would send me running.

In 1855 the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction commissioned five men to revise the scattered documents of the Scottish Rite.  Two of the five men were Albert Mackey and Albert Pike.  Two years later, Albert Pike completed the task and handed his manuscript to the Supreme Council.  Albert Mackey coined the work Magnum Opus or The Great Work.  Although monitors and rituals are revised from time to time, key sections of the work are still present in more recent monitors of the Scottish Rite.

The bread and wine meal is one of them.

In the 26th degree, Scottish Trinitarian or Prince of Mercy, we read:

Qn: What is to us the chief symbol of man’s ultimate redemption and regeneration?

Ans: The fraternal supper, of bread that nourishes, and of wine that refreshes and exhilarates, symbolical of the time which is to come, when all mankind shall be one great harmonious brotherhood; and teaching us these great lessons; that as matter changes ever, but no single atom is annihilated, it is not rational to suppose that the far nobler soul does not continue to exist beyond the grave: That many thousands who have died before us might claim to be joint owners with ourselves of the particles that compose our mortal bodies; for matter ever forms new combinations; and the bodies of the ancient dead, the patriarchs before and since the flood, the kings and common people of all ages, resolved into their constituent elements, are carried upon the wind over the continents, and continually enter into and form part of the habitations of new souls, creating new bonds of sympathy and brotherhood between each man that lives and all his race.  And thus, the bread we eat, and in the wine we drink tonight, may enter into and form part of us the identical particles of matter that once formed parts of the material bodies called Moses, Confusius, Plato, Socrates, or Jesus who died upon the cross.  In the truest sense, we eat and drink the bodies of the dead; and cannot say that there is a single atom of our blood and body, the ownership of which some other soul might not dispute with us, and produce prior title.”  Magnum Opus, XXVI, p. 17,18

In case one wonders if the original work of Pike was carried into the Scottish Rite, in Liturgies of the Scottish Rite, 1962, the exact wording is found, minus the last two sentences.  It may well be that these sentences are verbally transmitted, and no longer deemed appropriate for print.

It seems obvious that the Scottish Rite borrows the most sacred meal to Christians and changes its meaning.  Albert Pike addresses the reality of the connection in the following paragraphs to the above section:

“To our Jewish Brethern, this supper is symbolical to the Passover: to the Christian Mason of that eaten by Christ and his Disciples, when, celebrating the Passover, he broke bread and gave it to them, saying, “Take! Eat! This is my body:” and giving them the cup, he said, “Drink ye all of it! for this is the blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for he remission of sins:”…”    Magnum Opus XXVI…18

While tipping its hat to the Lord’s Supper, the Scottish Rite drastically changes the meaning.  Jesus states the bread of the Passover meal refers to Himself; the Scottish Rite changes it to refer to the act of entering into and forming part of the identical matter of past Masters.  Jesus said the cup refers to His own blood; the Scottish Rite changes it to align with forming identical matter with the dead. 

It would seem to me that Christians would think twice before participating in a ceremony symbolically linked to the Lord’s Supper that has been deliberately changed.  The emphasis of this supper is not on Christ, but upon the particles of dead Masters.

 Paul the Apostle said it this way:

“No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too, you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”  1 Cor. 10:20,21

“Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  A man ought to examine himself before he eats the bread and drinks the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement upon himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.”  1 Cor. 11:27-30

If Masons want to mimic the Lord’s Supper and change its meaning from Christ it is their prerogative, but it should jolt a Christian’s conscience.  How can we participate in a meal that strips the meaning of Christ and replaces it with integration into the dead?

I’ll bank my eternity on Christ, not Albert Pike.

I never did finish my popcorn.  When a movie fails to deliver even the popcorn seems stale.  National Treasure: Book of Secrets seems to carefully sidestep the murky issues surrounding the Lincoln assassination and the accelerated return from exile of Albert Pike.  I went out the turnstile with an unease surrounding the quest for unending clues.

Just when you want to put the popcorn down, something happens.

In the most recent issue of the Scottish Rite Journal a question is asked:

“Is there a university laid out like a Masonic Lodge”?

I grabbed for popcorn.

The University of North Carolina appears to be fashioned off the interior of a Masonic Lodge, at least in it earliest form.  For two hundred years students have walked in and around the structures in question and no doubt failed to understand the significance.

The Scottish Rite Journal tells us that the buildings in question form a little design with the famous North Carolina cupola as the centerpiece.  Old South, Old East, and Old West complete the Masonic presentation.  It appears that the three buildings mentioned stand in perfect alignment to each other and to the Old Well.  Together they form an exact lineup of the three principal officers and altar of a Masonic Lodge.  The fact that there is no building in the north, only an empty park, further suggests to the Scottish Rite Journal that the early architects built this configuration as a symbol of the Lodge.  It makes sense.  In Masonic lore and thought, the north is considered a place of darkness and void.

The Old Well, which would be a symbol of the Masonic altar to the Great Archtect of the Universe, is kind of a big deal on campus.  It is often used as the symbol on the university itself. The Scottish Rite suggests to us that this well, which was used to give water to the early campus, is the altar itself.  It seems fitting that the architects used the well symbolically, as Freemasonry is thought to give its abundance of knowledge to a devoid and thirsty world.

The Old Well itself is actually fashioned after the Temple of Love in Versailles.  In its original French form it was dedicated to the deity of love, Eros, or Cupid.  Even this dash into pagan thought seems consistent with Masonry as the various male deities of antiquity are seen as diverse symbols of the one, unapproachable deity.  In this form it is just taking the form and function of Eros.

All of this wouldn’t be especially noteworthy, except to Masons and maybe followers of Western magical systems.  The reason is simple.  It is called sacred geometry.  Sacred geometry forms the basis of almost all Western magical tradtions, including Freemasonry.

A certain Hermes Trimegistus articulated the concept of sacred geometry as a metaphysical philosophy, which in turn gave rise to future occult thought.  He postulated that energy of the spiritual world is attracted or focused by use of certain geometric patterns.  Although this wasn’t entirely a new idea, he coined a certain phrase, which stuck.  In the book Emerald Tablet he states, “that which is below corresponds to that which is above, and that which is above, corresponds to that which is below, to accomplish miracles of the one thing.”  This phrase was revolutionary.  It is how magical theory is practiced and experienced by many.

An easily recognizable example of sacred geometry is the pentagram, a five-pointed star.  It can be drawn with a point up, or a point down.  It is usually drawn in one continuous line and itself mimics the movement of the planet Venus in its travels across the universe. When a pentagram, or other geometric figure is drawn, occultists believe it focuses spiritual energy. In this case what is above, Venus,  is as that which is below, the symbol.  It can create something.

His phrase is often shortened to “as above, so below”, or the opposite.  An attempt is made to align the below with the above thus creating change or energy.  This is probably why some people do crop circles.  I don’t really think they are done by space aliens.  Manipulating one level is thought to affect another level.  One could say that something budging in the celestial world, because of a drawn symbol, should reverberate down here on Main Street.

The Masons seem to use sacred geometry in a lot of their ritual work.  One can find pentagrams, triangles, stars of Solomon, among dozens and dozens of others.  Connecting the interior of a Masonic Lodge to the initial buildings of a university, and the celestial world, should create a spark. 

And so the Old Well may not be just an old well.  Old South may not just be old south.  The well fashioned off the Temple of Love in Versailles holds in its original form a statue of Cupid cutting a bow from the club of Hercules.  Maybe it is all about refinement. 

When I naturally think of water, as a Christian, I do not think of Cupid or Eros.  My mind turns to Jesus.  I remember the book of John telling me that Jesus alone gives living water. Water that leads to eternal life does not come from a pagan deity, but from Him.  I have found this to be true in my life.

Who really knows what the original designers had in mind at the University of North Carolina. But I agree with the authors of the Scottish Rite Journal; it is striking. 

Popcorn anyone?



People are somewhat uncomfortable talking about some supernatural events that have taken place in their lives.  People worry they will be branded as nuts.  They hide their often profound stories, tucking them away as something weird that cannot be explained. 

 Over the years I have heard countless stories from people.  It’s what I do as a pastor.  I have heard angel stories that changed people’s lives.  I have heard stories of dark visitations which needed intense prayer to break.  I have gone to houses where events as you will read, really do happen.   I have heard just too many stories in my life to relinquish them to the world of pimoral imagination.  There are just too many witnesses in too many places.  I have found explanations for these events in the bible, and guidance in a preferred course of events for them.  You are about to read the story of a supernatural visitation in the childhood home of one the greatest Christian leaders of all time.

I graduated from a seminary that took its time in studing the life of John and Charles Wesley.  It was a premier Weslyan Seminary,  but I never heard this story. 

 The Wesley house of the 18th Century experienced dramatic spiritual warfare during the childhood years of the boys.  The events were known and experienced by multiple members of the family at the same time.  It wasn’t just one creepy story from one sullen member of the family, but a complex and well witnessed set of visual and audio manifestations that lasted over two years.  It may well be that these experiences  can help us understand the depth of passion in John and Charles Wesley to take the gospel to the world.  Once the curtain to the supernatural world was drawn open at their home, Christianity was no longer a philosophy alone.  It was a supernatural reality.  Sometimes it takes understanding the reality of the supernatural world in our life to launch us forward.  It indeed may have lent force and passion to their lives.

Between 1715 and 1717 the Wesley home experienced an ongoing oppression, or intense, unwanted, supernatural presence in the home.  The home began to experience spirit visitations both day and night which cannot be explained.  Although the intensity of the visitations would be unique, it would not be the first time possible warfare erupted in the home. 

In 1709, a fierce storm caught the roof of the Epworth parsonage on fire, with family members scrambled to pick up children and get out of the house.  John, six years old at the time, jumped out a window to a man just moments before he roof caved in on the house.  Little Charles was taken out in a sister’s arms.  The parents were not sure who was alive and who was dead.   Now, six years later, an attack would take a different directon upon the home.

During the daytime, latches of the children’s rooms would go up and down along the hallway with no one present.  At night, the sound of ratcheting wheels and spilling coins would be heard throughout the house, even as all family members were tucked in bed.  The famiy did not own an instrument that could make the noise, and did not leave bags of coins in the kitchen.

As the family tried to sleep, pewter plates and glass bottles would clank and rattle each other down in the kitchen.  Actually, the frequency of the oppression was such that the young girls just thought it was fun.  Mysterious knocks and groaning would take place at odd times during the day. 

It sounds to us like a current episode of Most Haunted.   The manifestations could be experienced in all sections of the house, except, interestingly enough, in the study of the father.  The father was a pastor.  Often, Susanna Wesley would stamp on the floor, and the oppression would return the favor.

Susanna and her husband realized it commenced as they seriously started to pray as a family.  Apparently the visitation also followed on the heels of the father beginning to preach against witchcraft in the area.  He had turned up the spiritual heat by defining the difference between faith and magic, and spiritual forces were challenging the family. 

When Susanna told it to stop, it would stop.  Family members said that it would even go so far as to materialize in the kitchen, in the form of a white rabbit.  One day Susanna was preparing to shoot it with a gun, but it came and left before the gun could be leveled its way.

This account, from the book The Occult Sciences by Rev. Edward Smedley(1855), was taken from the accounts in Susanna’s diary, as well as that of her husband.

If this can happen in the life of the Wesley brothers, spiritual warfare can happen around ours as well.  Rather than believe the presence was a disembodied spirit of a past human being, the family began to understand it was a dark being.  The Bible tells us the identity, or at least the origin, of these spirits.  They are not past humans, but demonic spirits sent to harass and challenge.  In the end, the Lord gave the Wesley family victory and this family, in turn, gave us John and Charles.  John went on to change the world through a revival called Methodism, and Charles wrote many of our hymns.  To them, spiritual warfare was not a joke.  Christianity was not merely reduced to a philosophy of life, but an encounter with a living God and salvation from darkness.

In my next post, I want to talk about the two prevailing views of what ghosts happen to be.

God allowed the Wesleys to experience a deeper level of supernatural things, and the result was a deeper call of commitment from them. 

Whatever may have brought challenges to your life in the past, God specializes in making great things come from them.

Freemasonry hosts beneficial charities. It tries to open business doors that otherwise may be closed.  There is no doubt that Freemasonry offers some men a sense of belonging in a disjointed world. But is there a spiritual cost for a Christian?  Could allegiance to the Lodge turn out to be the biggest gamble of a lifetime?


The Christian who is in the Lodge is painfully aware that the name of Jesus cannot freely be mentioned. Although many Christians rationalize staying in the Lodge in order to be a spiritual witness, in reality one cannot recommend the name of Jesus to his brothers and maintain Masonic fidelity.


There are feasts for John the Baptist and for John of Revelation, yet the person in the middle, Jesus, is somehow left out of the picture.  Although a Christian can find elements of pagan religion everywhere, a clear understanding of Jesus as ultimate Redeemer is missing. The best one can hope for are hints, here and there, with the understanding that Elysian Mysteries come first and thus foremost.


It is indeed difficult to have a foot in the Lodge and an attempted foot in Christ.  In order to adhere to the precepts of the Lodge a brother must reject the clear teaching of Jesus. Jesus declares that He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” He states that no one comes to the Father except through Him.  The Lodge does not believe this.  In fact, the thrust of its teachings is geared to rooting out a position like this in fraternal lives.  Freemasonry believes the path to the Celestial Lodge is not found in any one-belief system, including Christ.


But a most disturbing situation develops for a man as he walks through the Blue Lodge, the first three degrees of Freemasonry.  As a Mason takes these initial steps, he is acquainted with the symbols of the Sun and Moon. They seem to be everywhere.  In fact, he will find that the principal officers of the lodge represent the Sun in its various positions.  It may be here that we find the gamble of eternity. As a man reaches out to other Masonic degrees, he finds these symbols are never really far away.


The Blue Lodge of Freemasonry considers the Sun and Moon to be two of three primary symbols in what are called the Lesser Lights. The Lesser Lights and the Greater Lights are two sets of symbols which communicate truth to initiates. There is a relationship between them, as it can be said that the Lesser Lights are known by the Greater Lights.


The Sun and Moon are prominent Masonic symbols with meanings that evolve over degrees.  One set of ideas is communicated in the Blue Lodge, and then an expanded version seems to be given in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.


Here is the gamble for the Christian: The Bible states that homage given to the sun and the moon constitutes sin and unfaithfulness to God the Father.


 In Job 31:26-28 we read:

“If I have regarded the sun in its radiance

or the moon moving in splendor,

so that my heart was secretly enticed

and my hand offered them a kiss of homage,

then these also would be sins to be judged,

for I would have been unfaithful to God on High.”


In the Blue Lodge the Mason finds symbols, officers, and teachings depicting the Sun and Moon.  In regard to the officers, we read:

“As the sun rises in the East to rule and govern the day, so rises the Worshipful Master in the East to rule and govern the Lodge; setting the Craft at work, giving them proper instruction for their labor.”

The Master of the Lodge thus represents the Sun in its rising.


“As the sun is in the West as the close of day, so stands the Senior Warden in the West, to assist the Worshipful Master in opening and closing the Lodge; paying the Craft their wages, if any be due, that none may go away dissatisfied; harmony being the support of all institutions, especially this of ours.”

 The Senior Warden thus represents the sun in its setting.


“To observe the sun at meridian, which is the glory and beauty of the day, call the Craft from labor to refreshment, superintend them during the hours thereof, carefully to observe that the means of refreshment are not perverted to intemperance or excess, and see that they return to labor in due season, that the Worshipful Master may receive honor, and they pleasure and profit thereby.”

 The Junior Warden thus represents the sun in its zenith.


But it is in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, degrees 4-32, which give a startling picture of the significance of these two symbols in the Lodge system.


The degrees Knight of the Sun and Knight of the Brazen Altar are just two degrees that highlight the extent of this gamble for the Christian.


In The Knight of the Sun  as illustrated in the McCleanachan Monitor we are greeted with the following illustration:


The phrase, “Sacred to the most holy sun,” underscores the vivid picture. A pentagram is prominently placed upon the Hebrew altar. The Jewel of the order is a Sun.  The Sun, according to the inscription, is now considered sacred, and most holy.  This is beyond the scope of describing the Sun as a glowing orb that governs the day, as is suggested in the Blue Lodge. It is now considered a sacred and holy object in the celestial realm. This designation should cause concern for those wondering about the true meaning of this solar symbol.

As part of the decoration of the degree room, transparencies or symbols are placed upon certain walls.  One of these transparencies consists, again, of a pentagram with an eye in the middle. Although it meaning is hidden from viewers in the McClenachan monitor, a History of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of  Free and Accepted Masons and Concordant Orders furnishes us with the explanation.  There appears to be a reason it is hidden from wondering eyes in the McCleanachan Monitor; in Freemasonry the symbol represents Osiris, the Sun deity of Egypt:


“The pentalpha, or five pointed-star, with a point upward, and in its middle the face of a sun or an eye, represents Osiris.”  p.69




Here is the transparency as shown in the McClenachan Monitor. It is a pentragram, with one point upwards, and with an eye in the middle.


In his first draft of the Scottish Rite degrees, Albert Pike writes a description of a pentagram transparency for the Knight of the Sun.  He includes in the description


“A large five pointed star, and on it the Phoenician name of the Sun-god, BAL. (Magnum Opus,(XXVIII….1)


Whether he is describing the same transparency, or an alternate, we do not know. Whether this designation made it to the final draft, or it has been changed to the Osiris eye, we do not know. It should concern us that the name of BAL was even considered by the one who wrote most of the degrees of the Scottish Rite.


In a second degree of the Scottish Rite,  The Knight of the Brazen Serpent, personification of the Sun and Moon are unfolded further by recapturing the names of pagan deities.  In this degree, the ceremonial sash, or Order contains two ribbons which are worn over the shoulders. On the left shoulder is the name Osiris, which is the Sun god of Egypt. On the right shoulder is worn the name Isis, which is the Moon goddess. 

Obviously, carrying the names of pagan deities on the shoulders should be a colossal problem for the Christian in the Lodge. It is a clear trespass of the Word of God from Job.


As to the Moon, the McCleanachan monitor tells us that in the degree The Prussian Knight,

“they meet only on nights of the full moon, and allow no other light than hers, because such was the ancient custom of the order, derived from the mysteries of Ceres and the old worship of
Isis.”   P.322 McClenachan Monitor

This is a clear reference to the Lodge patterning a degree after pagan worship.


What does the Lodge believe concerning these references to the solar and lunar deities?  Albert Pike, in his preliminary work for the Scottish Rite degrees, Magnum Opus, may shed light for us. Pike is often very careful not to be accused of solar worship and tends to place his own thoughts in the ideas of others. The following quote probably reflects his  view accurately:


“Light they considered not so much as an object of worship, as rather the most pure and lively emblem of, and first emanation from, the Eternal God; and thought that man required something visible or tangible to exalt his mind to that degree of adoration which is due to the Divine being.”   Magnum Opus, XXVIII….25

To Pike, it is not that the Sun and Moon are in themselves living; breathing deities, but they are linked, visible representations of an invisible, unapproachable deity. These symbols are given to us as emanations of Him in order to further exalt and understand the Divine being.


The problem is clear; this is idolatry. This is exactly what God told us not to do.  It is exactly what the Hebrews did by creating the golden calf in the days of Moses.  The golden calf was merely a visible representation of a mystical divinity


The third and fourth commandments of God suggest such actions are a problem:


3. You shall have no other gods before me.

4. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those that hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.


Freemasonry resurfaces the names of Solar deities, adorns jewels with their images, and places their names on the shoulders in certain degrees. It uses the Moon and the worship of Isis and Ceres as a model for at least one degree in the McCleanachan Monitor.


As if using the Sun as a central motif in the Blue Lodge is not enough, the further explanation of this symbol in the Scottish Rite should give any Christian concern.  It now becomes obvious that their importance is significant enough as to justify the wearing of pagan deities of the Sun and Moon upon the shoulders.

It is sin and unfaithfulness to God on High to give homage to the Sun or Moon as a representation or symbol of any deity.  It is interesting that Job mention the “S” word….secretly. The homage the Lodge affords to the Sun and Moon cannot be communicated or talked about with friends, pastor, or even a spouse!  It may be a secret homage, which excludes closest relatives and friends outside the lodge.


This, then, could be the greatest gamble of your life. Although God’s revealed Word clearly tells us that secret homage to the sun and moon is unfaithfulness to God, we have a choice of whether we believe this, or allow the Lodge to introduce these symbols to us. Either the Word of God is right, or the Lodge. They cannot both be true, as they represent mutually exclusive spiritual truth. You either trust the Lodge for eternal salvation, or the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible.


If Jesus has provided eternal salvation for us, and the witness of prophesy and church history dictate its truth, why risk it all by giving homage to pagan systems of sun and moon worship in order to get a job?


Our days are over so quickly.


The next time you encounter the symbols of the sun and moon in the Lodge, think about what they mean.  Is it worth the gamble?  You see the sun as a jewel, as a Light, as a degree, and as a symbol here and there. You see the Master of the Lodge representing the Sun in its rising.  Do you realize you are giving homage to it each time you acknowledge it as a symbol of something with mystical and ethereal meaning?


I won’t throw the dice with the Lodge, when Jesus offers a sure thing.

an-ossuary-059-071.jpg I can set my calendar by it.  With winter sliding into spring, someone surfaces with an attack upon Christianity.  Last year it was our friends at The National Geographic Society who provided previously discovered Gnostic writings for us.  This year the Discovery Channel provides the story.

In this year’s episode, the family tomb of Jesus has been discovered.  Well not quite discovered as these ossuaries were found over fifteen years ago.  Nevertheless, the Discovery Channel airs a story admittedly produced not by scholars, but by entertainers.  Still, unsuspecting people are probably taken in by the story. 

Something about these ossuaries looks odd to me.  More than odd; its trail of symbols leads me to Athens, not Bethlehem. 

Look at the ossuary of the person named Mary pictured at the top of this post.  I know that people now suspect the name is actually Mary kai Martha, or Mary and Martha. One notices a fair amount of incised symbolism.  In fact, almost all decoration is placed upon this particular ossuary.  As a rule of thumb, people spend more time applying design to objects with more importance than  to those of lowered esteem.  This is just good art history.  In general, the higher the value of an object the greater use of design to highlight its importance among peers.

One must come to the conclusion that this Mary must be a more important figure than the supposed Jesus, based upon the elaborate use of decoration and design.  The Jesus ossuary is devoid of meaningful ornamentation, and this places it in relative obscurity among the others.  This seems odd to me.  Jesus would have been the central figure credited with creating this new religion, not Mary.  In this family cluster the Mary figure was the central figure.  This  particular Jesus was just an ordinary person.

As I look more closely at the Mary ossuary, I notice symbols which seem very out of place.  If these ossuaries do indeed represent the founding family of Christianity the symbols are seemingly out of place. 

The most common Jewsih symbol of the 1st century was the menorrah candlestick.  But along the center of the Mary ossuary are not Jewish or early Christian symbols, but two sets of  strange,vertical circles, in sets of three.  The central thing to note about these circles is that they all contain a point within them.  The point in a circle is a classic Gnostic symbol.  This is what decorates the Mary ossuary. 

In the world of the mystical,  drawing geometric symbols like the point in the circle into designs and placing them upon objects is considered sacred geometry.  Sacred geometry is the practice of incorporating symbolic forms into art or places of interest with the understanding that such forms will attract, or focus, spiritual energy or powers toward the item.  Some attempt to ward off evil such as Amish hex signs.  Others such as the occult pentagram desire to draw power closer.  A circle surrounding the pentragram contains the power, and one without sets it free.  It’s all in how the symbols are drawn, according to those who believe.

The point in a circle motif that decorates the Mary ossuary is a symbol that predates Christianity.  It is not linked to biblical symbolism, but to the mystical, and occult, practices of Pythagoras, who was from Greece. This particular symbol is also called a Monad. The Monad was used to symbolize a number of different things.  It usually represents the First, or absolute beginning.  It is a symbol that can refer to the sun deity, and often the Ra of Egypt in particular.  The symbol has been used consistently from the time of Pythagoras to our era and examples can still be found in a number of secret societies.  The Masons, for example, make use of the symbol in some rituals.

The larger set of symbols found on the Mary ossuary seem to have a similar pedigree.  Flanking the sets of Monads, one finds two large symbols that appear to be circles with lines intersecting like the spokes of a wheel.  These two symbols appear to be Pythagorean as well, as they are exact representations of what is called the Decad.

The Decad is a symbol created by Pythagoras to express the association between heaven and earth.  It also represents more sacred geometry to the Pythagorean mystic.

A third mysterious symbol is found above the door to the crypt.  The authors of the Jesus Tomb seem perplexed about the meaning, and tend to lump the chevron and the circle together as one.  By making this simple error, one would certainly be at a loss to understand the symbolism as it does not exist anywhere in any culture.  However, the circle standing by itself is perfectly consistent with the other symbols.  The circle is also a Pythagorian emblem of sacred geometry and describes the unending nature of eternity.  In its full form, it is a serpent eating its own tail.  Called Ouroboros, it is also used, as the others, in esoteric Gnosticism.  The chevron may merely be an architectural devise to highlight and protect the circle motif.

Placing these three sets of symbols in context, one asks if they do have meaning or are merely decoration?  This has a simple answer.  Do the symbols in a Pythagorean context make actual sense for an ossuary?  It seems obvious that an ossuary carrying a symbol of a singular deity, the point in a circle, as well as a symbol uniting heaven and earth, the Decad, is indeed appropriate for a burial.  It makes sense to put an emblem of eternity outside a crypt.  But what are these Pythagorean symbols doing on the first family of Christianity, or even good Jews for that matter?

This is where the trail gets interesting.  These ossuaries are mysteriously devoid of anything related to early Christianity or even Judaism for that matter.  Already in the later years of the first century one begins to find the formation of early symbolism being created by Christians.  These symbols revolve around the anchor, the lamb, a figure holding a lamb, and eventually a fish. These can be more fully viewed by a cursory study of early catacomb art in Rome. 

Is it not odd that the nucleus of this first family would forgo the natural formation of distinguishing symbolism and adopt the sacred geometry of a system considered pagan by early Jewish thought?  Jesus spent his time refuting the pagan views of Pythagoras.  It seems bizarre and incredulous that the early church would then link this family in death to this occult school of thought.  It is beyond imagination that they would highlight the Mary figure and reduce the Jesus figure to relative obscurity.

More likely, these ossuaries represent a Jewish family cluster that had adopted a Pythagorean and Gnostic world-view. This was all too common in a syncretistic and Hellenistic society.  They chose to highlight their tombs with pagan symbols representing their esoteric philosophy, rather than use Jewish symbolic form.  It is very simple, indeed.

As Amos Kloner, the archeologist who led the excavation in the 1980’s stated, “their movie is not serious.”

I agree.