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Archive for March, 2007

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:

 reduced_knight1-2.jpg

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

 

adjusted_mason.jpg

 

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.

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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.

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