Anderson, the editor of the Constitutions, tells us in symbolic and historical terms that Freemasonry goes back to Adam and Eve. He also tells us that the first charters were granted to Masons by the Anglo-Saxon king Athelstan (895-940). In this way Anderson refers to a historical chronology and to an extra-historical chronology in which Adam symbolises the origin of time. This double reference is the essential originality of the Masonic movement. Freemasonry develops in an ambivalent manner, as there is a continuous mix-up between visible or concrete reality and invisible, or mythological, reality.
More or less everyone agrees that modern speculative Freemasonry derives from historical operative Freemasonry. The origin of the latter are lost in the time and only legends, that is a mixture of symbolism and historical facts, exist today to tell us something about it. Moreau wrote in 1837 that God was the first Freemason and that the society of Freemasons existed before the earth was created. Another hardly more credible story tells us that Hiram, the architect mentioned in the Bible and brought King Solomon from Tyre to build the Temple of Jerusalem, was the first operative Mason.
Hiram’s story, or myth, is very important in the modern Freemasonry and constitutes its central mystery. The ceremony to confer the degree of Master Mason is a re-enactment of it. Hiram hired so many workmen that he could not possibly know all of them. To recognise their individual level of qualification he invented a system of different words, signs and touches. Modern Masonry still uses a similar system, with each degree having its own signs. The legend tells us that three journeymen wanted to be put in charge of the work and, as Hiram refused, they killed him. In the ceremony conferring the degree of Master Mason, the candidate first identifies himself with the three journeymen, who symbolise his inner darkness, and then with Hiram who is his light. He then dies to the world, killed by his alienation, to be reborn in freedom.
The legend of Hiram was adopted by Freemasonry because Hiram was a builder, and because the Temple of Jerusalem symbolises the will of the Jewish people to take up residence there. This is a builder’s initiation rite. The journeymen saw it in a concrete or operative manner, and the Freemasons in an intellectual, or speculative, way. The transformation from operative to speculative Freemasonry happened at the time of the centralisation of the initiating lodges. As we have seen, the Grand Lodge of London united a number of scattered self-governing lodges, enabling the initiating phenomenon to be adapted to the modern age.
The early history of Freemasonry is linked to the history of the trade groups, Roman Collegia, brotherhoods and corporations. The trades started to organise themselves in the thirteenth century. The first mention of Freemasonry is to be found in an English document of 1376, and again in 1396 in a document of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Freemasonry was never exclusively operative. Religious and initiatory aspects always went alongside the concrete, professional transmission of technical skill and the defence of the interest of the members, as we know them today in the trade unions. The organisations also helped the members in distress, provided charity, and looked after the good behaviour of the initiates. This dual nature of the movement became more visible with the admission of “accepted”, non-operative, members. As a result the lodges became meeting points for the trade people and men of culture. The decrease in the number of big building sites, such as those for new cathedrals, and the Renaissance, led to the decline of the brotherhoods, leaving more room for the speculative Masons in the Lodges.
As soon as it was created Freemasonry was torn apart between various tendencies leading to schisms, reunification and conflicts. The first conflict between the ancients and the moderns dated of 1753. The ancients stuck to the old principle “of free Masons in free lodges” that was in contradiction with the centralisation wanted by the modern who also accused the Antients of secularising the ritual. This conflict still persists today. In England the conflict was settled by the union of the two groups under the name of the “United Grand lodge of the Ancient Freemasons of England”. This Grand Lodge, that includes members of the British Royal Family, still claims to be the only one to hold “Masonic regularity”, and to have the right to attribute “patents” to different lodges in various parts of the world.
Modern Freemasonry was introduced to France from Scotland in 1649 in an earlier and different form from the Grand Lodge of London. This happened when Henrietta Maria, widow of Charles I took refuge in France. In 1721 an English form of Freemasonry was created in France with its first lodge in Dunkirk. Various lodges were set up in 1729 after receiving their patents from London or, perhaps, from the “Parfaite Union” of Valencienne. By 1753 there were 200 lodges in France from which 22 in Paris alone.
In 1735 the “English lodges” wanted to organise themselves in France under the control of London but this was not accepted because the Grand Lodge of London did not want a conflict with the Scottish lodges. The French Masons formed their own rite known as the “Provincial Grand Lodge” with the Duke of Antin as its Grand Master. In 1772 a minority opted out and created a rival organisation, the “Grand Loge de France”. After some initial difficulties, Masonry was well accepted in France in the period before the revolution with many important people among their members (La Fayette, Brissot, Condorcet, Talleyrand and Voltaire). The same happened in the USA (with Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and many other “Fathers of Independence”) and everywhere in Europe (Mozart, Goethe, Lessing, Nerval).
Many writers, including Abbé Baruel, believed that the French Revolution was started by the Freemasons. This view was very popular with the enemies of the Republic, but it is probably exaggerated. However, there is no doubt that Freemasonry and the “Encyclopédistes” paved the way with their “Clubs” which were against the “Ancient Régime”. At that time freedom of speech was only possible within the lodges where all members could express their opinions without distinction of rank. This explains why the motto of the 1848 Republic “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” is still used now by the brothers to close their meetings. Freemasonry was interested in politics because it never lost sight for an invisible, mythological reality. The initiation ceremony of the Freemasons still tries to bring together the feelings of freedom and spirituality in its candidates.
After the Revolution some brothers tried to revive Freemasonry. In 1799 the Order was reconstituted under the name of “Grand Orient and Grand Lodges”, which was a union of the old Grand Orient and Grand Lodge. The “Scottish” lodges regrouped themselves under the name of “Scottish General Grand Lodge of the Accepted and Ancient Rite”. In 1806 Cambacérès, arch-chancellor of the Empire, was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge and deputy Grand Master of the Grand Orient whose Grand Master was Emperor Napoleon’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte. Freemasonry was under the control of the government as it will still be later in the second Empire when napoleon III decided that he would appoint the Grand Masters.
In 1877 the Grand Orient decided to end the obligation for the lodges to work for the glory of the “Great Architect of the Universe”. This important decision meant that the main rite was cutting itself free of all spiritualist or traditionalist obligations and adopted a more democratic constitution. Most Freemasons of that time were republican and laic, and they played a large part in the laicisation of the country. Of course not all members agreed and some lodges broke away to create the “Scottish Symbolic Grand Lodge” which merged later on with the Grand Lodge. In 1913 the “French National Grand Lodge” was created and recognised by the British. Marshal Pétain banned Freemasonry in 1940 but the movement came back to life after the Second World War.
In France there are now three main organisations:
– The French National Grand Lodge has the smaller number of members, but is recognised by London and can claim to be the only one in France to maintain “Masonic regularity”. Reference to the Great Architect is compulsory, and certain lodges require a certificate of baptism from the candidates. It is not too religious and claim not to be politicised, although most members are right wing.
– The “Grande Loge de France” is somewhere between the former and the Grand Orient in terms of members and philosophy. Reference to the Great Architect is compulsory, but the organisation claim not to be dogmatic. It insists on tolerance, and any display of political or religious opinion is forbidden, although most members are politically in the centre.
– The Grand Orient of France is the more important Masonic organisation in terms of number of members and influence. Politically it is on the left and laicisation is one of its basic principles. It is anti-racist and well aware of the contemporary problems such as underdevelopment.
This division into three main rites in France tells us a lot about the movement, its limits and its meaning. Every rite has its own initiation rules, and all try to reach a certain balance between spirituality and political action. The lodges are centres of reflection, but they also have a definite influence on society. (6)
2.1 The Masonic Secret
It is generally said that Freemasons work in secret. In what way is it a secret society and what is the secret? What do these mysteries mean? It would be wrong to believe that the secret hide unspeakable practices, even if some religious extremists continue to say so. So many books have been published on Freemasonry that we can find all we want about it. Secret does not really exist except, of course, the personal experience of each Mason. The fact that the Masonic quest is metaphysical, with some mythological aspects, explains the frequent talk about symbolism and alchemy in the lodges. It is through these mythological references that a psychical and cultural dimension emerges to influence indirectly morality.
Freemasonry is an unusual society. It claims to be non-political and non-religious, but it is not so. Masons do not reject politics and religion, but they believe that they have something more important to do in their lodges. The lodge is the place where the initiate is aware of himself and of his relations with others, it is where he experiences his inner freedom that finally expresses itself in solidarity. This does not lead on to a reality but, on the opposite, to virtuallity since initiation is concerned with potentiality, not dogma. This explains why communist and fascist countries are banning Freemasonry. (6)
2.2 Women and Freemasonry
Along with the three main French organisation we also have a minority group “Right of Man” and the Adopted Lodges (the French Women’s Grand Lodge”). The last one are the first mixed and women’s lodges. The admission of women is a problem that has not yet found its final solution and it remains something foreign to Masonic custom.
Some lodges of the Grand Orient accept Sisters as visitors and, sometimes, initiate them too; but there is no general rule in this relation. The Grand Lodge and the French National Grand lodge refused to admit them. The problem is symptomatic of the difficulty to adapt old rules to the changing modern world. Initiation, like art, is based on tradition; it aims to approach the invisible, without becoming entrenched in modernity but without ignoring changes at the same time. (6)
2.3 Masonic symbols
Signs and numbers
The mysterious sign used by the Freemasons is numerological and comes, probably, from Pythagorism. The three points, forming an equilateral triangle, are a mean of recognition. The age of the apprentice is three, the journeyman is five and the Master is seven. From a cosmogonic point of view:
is the division of being
is the sign of accomplishment
King Solomon’s Temple
There were in fact four temples associated with Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. The first one, King Solomon’s Temple, was built in Jerusalem three thousand years ago. The second existed only in a vision by the prophet Ezekiel during the captivity of the Jews in Babylon in about 570 BC. King Zerubbabel built the third temple after the Jews returned from their captivity in Babylon in the early sixth century BC. The fourth one was being built by Herod at the time of Jesus Christ and was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, four years after it was completed. Solomon constructed another temple to house the God we know as Yahweh or Jehovah.
As the Jews were not great temple builders, Solomon hired many workers from Hiram, the Phoenician King of Tyre, who also supplied the material. Hiram Abif, a different person, was the real architect of the Temple. These three persons held a lodge and were the only holders of the true secrets of a Master Mason. It is now believed that this temple was a copy of a Sumerian temple built for the God Ninurta two thousand years before. It was a small building similar to a village church and half as big as Solomon’s palace. It was not a place of worship but the House of God, a home for Yahweh himself. Nothing physical remains of this temple, and there is no historical record either, so we are not absolutely certain that it ever existed. It could have been an invention of the Jewish scribes who described it. The most important part, according to them, was the Holy of Holies or, in Masonic terms, the Sanctum Sanctorum that houses the Ark of the Covenant which contains two tablets of stone, inscribed with the Ten Commandments given by god Yahweh himself. The Holy of Holies was kept in darkness except on the Day of Atonement when the High Priest alone entered in it with the blood of the national sin-offering, the scapegoat. Later Jewish traditions said that it was then used by the Priests and Levites (hereditary priests) alone. According to this legend, outside the eastern door there were two pillars, Boaz and Jachin. The Templars, later on, venerated it as the central icon of their Order. The temple that they escavated was not King Solomon’s Temple but the fourth one, built on the same site one thousand years later by King Herod. (8)
The Masonic Temple
The Masonic Temple is not a building or a place of worship. It is a symbolic temple rebuilt each time by those taking part in the rite. For the Masonic Temple to be built, or for the universe to be revealed to the initiates, it must be created by a common effort. Brotherhood is spirituality, and God, if he exists, can only exist between beings. Spirituality and freedom are two aspects of the same reality which have wrongly be separated through social alienation. It is then understandable that the new initiate should be asked, symbolically, to question the concepts that hinder him to acquire the status of “seeker”, that is someone who search for a reality that appears paradoxical to the profane. The seeker is expected to free himself from his “metal” or inner misunderstanding. (6)
The pragmatic people say that Freemasonry is only as old as its publicly recorded history that started in the seventeenth century. However there are some evidences that the order grew slowly over a period of three hundred years before the establishment of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1717. From that date the history is well known, but there were Masonic secret societies before 1650, and secret societies do not publish their history.
Historians have come with three theories:
– Freemasonry is as old as its rituals claim and dates from the time of the construction of King Solomon’s Temple and passed down to us.
– Freemasonry is the heir of the medieval stonemason’s guilds and the “operative” Masonic’s skills with stones were translated into “speculative” skills of moral improvement.
– Freemasonry and its rituals originate from the Order of the Knights Templar.
2.4.1 First theory: Freemasonry dates from the time of King Solomon
That Freemasonry was created at the time of the construction of King Solomon’s Temple is impossible to research, to proof and even less to documentate since the only source is the Old Testament that does not mention it.
2.4.2 Second theory: Freemasonry as heir to the medieval stonemasons
That the medieval stonemasons created the Craft for their own moral improvement is well accepted in and out Masonry, but it is difficult to document it. There is no record that medieval stonemasons’ guilds existed in England at that time. They existed in other countries, and this is well documented. The Church and the rich landowners employed these workers, and it is difficult to believe that their masters would have approved of them being organised into a kind of primitive trade union. Most workers spent their life on the same working site (cathedrals, large houses, castles, …) and no recognition sign would seem to be necessary. In addition, most of them were illiterate and had very little education outside what they learned during their apprenticeship that was limited to impart craft skills. It is therefore unbelievable that they would have been able to write the complex rituals still in use today. Their vocabulary and their capacity for abstract thought were very limited; travel was very rare so the use of secret signs, grips and passwords would have been of little value. Requesting a practical proof of their professional ability was a better way to identify them. As many aristocrats, and even some kings, have been members of the Craft since its known origin, it is difficult to believe that they would have joined stonemasons to copy their proceedings to use them, in a symbolic manner, for their own moral betterment.
The oldest Masonic documents from the late fifteenth century, known as “The Old Charges”, set out the rules of conduct and responsibility of the Freemasons. It has been assumed that they were taken from the codes of conduct of the stonemason guilds. One of the rules deals with heresy but, again, it is not believable that a simple Christian stonemason could be a heretic. The author must have had reason to believe that the members of his organisation could be accused of heresy. This rule was not created for simple stonemasons but for a group that could be accused to betray the Church, and that describe very well the “speculative” Freemasons. Another rule in the Old Charges deals with how to provide safe houses and money for the members on the run. This rule, again, does not seem to fit the need of stonemasons anymore than the first one. However it would have been very useful for heretics on the run to have some recognition rules unknown to the non-members. Finally, the central image of the Craft, the building of King Solomon’s temple, has no connection with the medieval stonemasons.
2.4.3 The Templar Theory
The Order of the Knights Templar was formed six hundred years before the Grand Lodge of England and there is a gap of four hundred and ten years between the imprisonment of the knights by the King of France and the formal appearance of the Craft. Any link between the two organisations is difficult to imagine, but recent evidence has given some more weight to this theory.
2.5 Hiram Abif
The connection between ancient Egypt and the Jews of the first century AD must have been through Moses, the founder of the Jewish nation and an adopted member of the Egyptian royal family.
The reference to Hiram Abif and the Old Testament in the ceremony of the Masonic Third Degree is baffling. No bible mentions the name Hiram Abif, the architect in charge of the construction of King Solomon’s Temple who was murdered before its completion. Hiram, King of Tyre, who supplied the cedar trees and the labour, is a different person with the same name. Hiram Abif means “the king that was lost”
At one point in its history Egypt was infiltrated by the “Hyksos” (Habiru in Hebrew) or “desert princes”. These were a mixed group of Asiatic people, mainly Semites from Syria and Palestine, who finally ruled from about 1720 BC. They were not Jews, although both countries spoke the same language, but they finally merged with the Jewish people of whom they became one tribe after being thrown out of Egypt. The God of the Hiksos in Egypt was called Set or Seth, the murderer of his brother Osiris; he was very similar to their previous Canaanite god Baal but they also worshipped Re and all the other Egyptian deities. However the Hyksos kings were not allowed to use the supreme title of “Horus” because they were not initiated as the former Egyptian Kings had been, and the Egyptians were not ready to unveil their ancient royal secrets to these invaders. They also wanted to become Osiris in death and to become one ever-shining star, but this too they could not get. Apophis, one of the Hyksos kings, asked the Egyptian King of Thebes, Seqenenre Tao II, to give him the secrets of how to become Osiris so that he would have an eternal life, but his request was refused. This led to a conflict between the two kings that ended with the death of Seqenenre, the expulsion of the Hyksos, and the return of the Egyptian kings to full power.
In 1570 BC Joseph, Jacob’s son, lived in Egypt where he was Vizier, the second most powerful man after the Pharaoh Apophis. It is also probable that Abraham entered in Egypt in 1780 BC, at the beginning of the Hyksos reign, and from this we must conclude that Abraham was a Hyksos. In order to win the conflict with Apophis, King Seqenenre needed the full power of the sun-god Amen-Re. Every day he visited the God’s Temple at high noon. With the sun at its zenith, the power of Re was the highest and the power of the serpent of darkness, Apophis, was at its lowest. The Masonic Third Degree ritual tells us that Hiram Abif was also praying the Most High at twelve each day. One day, Apophis sent three conspirators at the Temple to ask again Seqenenre to reveal Osiris’s secrets but, once again, he refused to reveal them. He tried to escape through the South Gate, then through the western one and finally through the east gate where he was murdered. The secrets of Egyptian king-making died with Seqenenre, the man the Freemasonry calls Hiram Abif, “the king that was lost”. This description of his murder was proved to be correct when his mummy was found in 1881. The two other persons who knew the secrets, two priests, refused to tell them too, and they were killed as well.
Identifying Hiram Abif with Seqenenre Tao fits the story very well except that Hiram is supposed to have built Solomom’s Temple at another period of time. The mummified body of Seqenenre and that of one murderer have been found and identified. In the Masonic legend the killers of Hiram Abif are called Jubelo, Jubela and Jubelum or, collectively, as “the Juwes”. In Arabic jubel means “mountains”.
At the time of the murder of Seqenenre Joseph was vizier to King Apophis and must have been implicated in the killing. It has been suggested that Joseph asked his brothers, Simeon and Levi, to extract the secrets. As Seqenenre refused to give them they, with the help of a young priest, killed him, and the brothers had to flee the wrath of Apophis who had lost any hope to learn their secrets. All three murderers were soon killed too. In the same way Kamose, Seqenenre’s son, could not become full king and Horus without these secrets. At the suggestion of the High Priest, substituted secrets were created to replace the lost ones. A new ceremony resurrecting the new king from a figurative death was designed to replace the old method, and new magic words were created to raise him to the status of Horus. The new ceremony told the story of the death of the last king of the First Egypt and with the new king came a reborn nation. As Kamose was raised from his figurative death, so was his nation that started a new positive phase of its history. There are many other connections between ancient Egypt and Freemasonry. Only one will be given here as an example. Hiram has always been referred too as “the Son of a Widow” without explaining why. The legend tells us that the first Horus was conceived after his father’s death, making his mother a widow. It seems normal then that all the Egyptian kings, who have the title of Horus, call themselves the “Son of a Widow”. This is, of course, true for Seqenenre Tao, known now as Hiram Abif. He is also known as “the king that was lost” because his murdered body was found too late to be resurrected, and because the secrets of Osiris died with him. From that time the secrets of how Isis raised Osiris have been replaced by substituted secrets and no ruler of Egypt could be called king again. They were merely Pharaoh.
It can now be assumed that Hiram Abif is a real historical person and not only a symbol, as most Masons have believed until now. In other words, the symbolism that surrounds Hiram Abif has been extracted from reality. He was liked as a hero for not giving away the secrets of Old Egypt even in front of certain death. His son, Hyksos, defeated the Hyksos as a revenge for his father death and liberated Memphis. After some more time Egypt was free again and the Hyksos retreated to Jerusalem.
King Seqenenre Tao is remembered as a builder because he was a great protector of Ma’at, the principle of truth and justice that is represented as building the straight and square foundations of a temple. Seqenenre was associated with King Solomon by the Jews who knew his story; they associated it to the building of King Solomon’s temple to make it more credible to their people. Hiram could not be identified with the king, since Solomon was too well known, and they associated him with the architect of his temple. It was a kind of resurrection of Seqenenre. Hiram Abif, as an Egyptian, was not worshipping Yahweh but the sun god Re, the “Most High” who was better worshipped at noontime. Freemasons still proclaim today that they are always meeting symbolically at noon. They can do it because the Craft is a worldwide organisation, and “the sun is always at its meridian with respect to Freemasonry”. Moreover the Masonic reference to “the Most High” is a description of Re, the sun god at its zenith. (8)
2.6 The Boaz and Jachin Pesher
It is generally accepted that the 200 people group that existed at Qumran around the time of Jesus Christ was one of the most important in Israel and its influence on the world has been very strong. It is also believed that they were Essenes, that they wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, and that they formed a single sect with the Nasoreans and the original Jerusalem Church. They had also some close links with the ancient Egyptians and, if only for this reason, they can be considered as the forebears of Freemasonry; as a result Jesus Christ was a Mason too. The Dead Sea Scrolls support these conclusions although the Christian Churches, but above all the Catholic Church, tried to hide the truth. The access to these documents by the academic community, as well as by the general public, was not allowed until 1991. Most documents found at Qumran date from the first century AD or before, one thousand years older that the oldest surviving Hebrew texts produced by Aaron ben Moses ben Asher in 1008 AD. From these documents we have learned that the Old Testament, as we know it, is the same as the one used two thousand years ago. However there were many more other documents than those included in the New Testament and those selected for the Greek Septuagint are only part of them. This means that the Bible, or better the New Testament, as we know it today is only a small part of the religious texts used two thousand years ago.
Whereas Judaism and most other religions are based on a broad theme of social and theological thinking, Christianity, on the opposite, is based on the idea that one man/God absolved of their sins those people who were willing to worship Him, and that on a specific day he died for them before resurrecting and going back to Heaven. This is what we are told by the three synoptic Gospels of the New Testament which were written many years after the events they describe by people not directly involved, and not properly identified. They have been written to please the readers of that time, and to present His teaching in an acceptable way. For instance, it is obvious that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are a combination of the Gospel of Mark and a lost earlier document known now as “Q” (from the German word “Quelle” or source). These two gospels are also full of errors and inventions easy to detect. Some scholars believe that there is a previous secret gospel encoded in the four New Testament gospels. The Qumran Scrolls reinforce this point of view by telling us that there was a written secret tradition within the early Christian Church, and that initiates could not divulge it.
It is strange that the historians of that time, Josephus, Philo and Pliny the Elder never mention Jesus. Up to a few years ago there are no surviving independent sources to confirm the existence of Jesus. The situation has changed with the discovery of the Qumran scrolls and the introduction of modern research techniques. Only the Christian religion is threatened by these new developments whereas Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and many others are hardly touched. This does not mean that Christianity could disappear as a result since, in the end, religion is not about historical truth, it is about faith.
The Jews came back from captivity in Babylon led by Zerubbabel with their secret ceremonies of the Royal line of David in which most Egyptian elements had been replaced by Hebrew ones. They rebuilt the Temple to Ezekiel’s design and were confident they would reach a new covenant with Yahweh. They would not err anymore, and their God would not need to punish them. Zerubbabel’s descendants, known as the Hasidim, left Jerusalem between 187 and 152 BC for Qumran where they founded a community. In their self imposed retreat they saw themselves as the people of the new covenant with Yahweh, living a monastic life in difficult conditions to become the model for Christian orders. They described themselves as “the men who entered into a new Covenant in the Land of Damascus” (Damascus is though to be the name they used for Qumran). It is thought that they lived in tents and that they used the caves as storehouses and winter dwellings. Their permanent buildings included a watch tower, public meeting rooms, refectory, kitchen, a scriptorium, a bakery, various workshops, and large cisterns for drinking water and ceremonial ablutions requested to maintain holiness. The members were classified in three groups: “Israel” for the common membership, “Levi” for the lower priests and “Aaron” for the senior holy priests. Any man who believed in God could ask to become a member. After a serious screening like in Freemasonry, the successful candidates were admitted at the lowest level and they had to wait at least one year before being tested on the Torah in order to reach a higher grade in the Community of the “many”. A few elected candidates could reach a third level after another year where they “draw near to the secret council of the Community”. This is very similar to the rituals followed by the Freemasons and the Templars. Like the Knights Templar, after the first year of initiation, the successful candidates had to transfer all their wealth to the Community. This is not the case with the Freemasons! Like Freemasonry, the Qumran Community insisted on the following virtues: truth, righteousness, kindness, justice, honesty and humility, together with brotherly love. Most experts now admit that the members of the Community of Qumran were Essenes.
The site of Qumran was chosen by the “Teacher of Righteousness” whose identity is unknown (although he must have been a priestly descendant of Zadok). Other important actors such as the “wicked priest” and the “liar” are also unknown. The members called themselves “the Community”, “the Many”, “the Congregation of Israel” and “the Sons of Light”. From the scrolls we know that they had secret books known only to selected members. They can be described as the spiritual heirs to the Egyptian kings, and the antecedents of the Templars and the Freemasons. In many of the Dead Sea scrolls a Hebrew code called “Atbash cipher” was used to cancel the name of the individuals. This code was also used by the Templars and now by Freemasonry. The Templars were accused to worship a statue called Baphonet. Translated in Hebrew and deciphered by the Atbash code it means “Sophia”, or Wisdom. It is also believed that the “Teacher of Righteousness” is the spiritual descendant of the builder of Solomon’s Temple, or Hiram Abif as the Freemasons know it.
The Catholic Church and the Christian community as a whole consider that the Essenes were one of many Jewish sects of the time. On the contrary, its members were the most important elements of the Jewish nation, the guardians of the covenant with their God, and an image of the aspirations of a people. The experts now believe that there were two “Teachers of Righteousness”. The first one founded the community and the second one was “James the Just”, Jesus’s brother, who was at the same time the leader of the Qumran community and the leader of the Christian Jerusalem Church, these two organisations being in fact one. Both communities had a council of twelve holy men who were the pillars of the organisations.
The two main pillars of these organisations were symbolic and represented the kingly and the priestly aspects of the “Kingdom of Heaven”. They were similar to the pillars of Egypt that had come down to the Qumran community as the legendary Boaz and Jachin of the Eastern gate of Solomon’s Temple. The left one represents the kingly power (mishpat) and the right one the priestly power (tsedeq) and, together, they support the great archway of Heaven (shalom). The whole essence and mission of the Qumran community was made known to its senior members through symbols such as the twin pillars. They were buried under Herod’s Temple and discovered by the Templars. Freemasonry inherited the symbols but they lost their meaning. When the Essenes realised that the end of Qumran was near, they had to choose the men to be fit to be these pillars. They were called Messiah, or leaders in waiting.
The ceremonies of the Qumran Community were the forerunners of Freemasonry’s. For instance, there are the remains of a temple with two pillars at the Eastern gate leading to Qumran’s “Holy of Holies” where the initiation ceremonies of their most senior members must have taken place. These two pillars, similar to Boaz and Jachin, are also symbols of the two Messiahs expected before the “end of the age”. Qumran is a modern Arabic name that means vault, or arch doorway, and the inhabitants were known as “the people of the pillars (of “tsedeq” and “mishpat”) with the arch (of “shalom”) over it. This seems to be a real connection of the community of Jesus and James with modern Freemasonry.
Freemasonry says that Jachin, the right-hand pillar, means “to establish” (the priestly or “tsedeq” messiah was to establish righteousness in Israel) and Boaz, the left-hand pillar, is said to mean “strength” (the kingly or “mishpat” messiah was responsible for the strength of the nation). Moreover Freemasonry says that the two pillars united mean “stability” and that is also a nice translation of the word “shalom”. In conclusion, Freemasonry uses the two pillars of King Solomon’s Temple as the Qumran Community and Jesus Christ did. From the Dead Sea Scrolls it seems that the people of Qumran expected two messiahs: a Levitical or from Aaron (priestly) Messiah and a Davidic or from Israel (kingly) Messiah, the former being the most important.
John the Baptist, who lived many years purifying himself in the desert and baptising people, could have been the priestly Messiah, and Jesus the kingly one. John could also have been the “Teacher of Righteousness”, but there is no proof of it. The Bible tells us that John baptised Jesus but, from what has been seen, this ceremony looks more like Jesus’ first level of initiation into the Qumran Community and the dove s a Hebrew symbol for wisdom. The Bible tells us that after his baptism Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness and then remained three years there from 27 to 31 AD. It must be remembered that in all the Dead Sea Scrolls the term “wilderness” means the Qumran Community. If this is correct, then Jesus spent three years there to go through the three stages of initiation to reach the highest level of the brotherhood. At that stage he learned the secret technique and words of resurrection coming from Moses which raise a candidate from his figurative death to live a faithful and righteous life while waiting for the coming of the kingdom of God.
Jesus, after his initiation, lived one more year according to the Essene rule but after John’s death in 32 AD, he started to preach to the people of Israel to prepare them for the coming “Kingdom of Heaven”. John had asked him previously if he was the kingly Messiah and his answer, although crypted, was positive. As the two of them were pillars of the heavenly gateway, there was no conflict between them, as they needed each other. After preaching six years, John the Baptist was murdered by Herod Antipas who was afraid that he would lead a revolt, since he was a Messiah. Jesus and the Qumran Community must have been very upset to loose one pillar before “the end of the age” and the arrival of the “Kingdom of God”. There were two candidates to replace John. The first was James the Just who became the leader of the Qumran Community, and the other was his brother, the man we know as Jesus.
After John the Baptist’s death, Jesus had only one year to live before being crucified. Jesus wanted to be the two pillars at the same time, and this led him into conflicts with James the Just and the Qumran Community that considered him too radical and not Holy enough for this. James had the support of most people, as well as of his family including Joseph and Mary. The Qumran Community accepted Jesus as the left-hand pillar, the kingly Messiah or King of the Jews in-waiting, but they did not accept him as the right-hand pillar as well. In fact the Bible says that Jesus will sit on the right-hand of the Father and that makes him the left-hand pillar. However Jesus proclaimed himself to be the two pillars with God as the Arch. As King-in-waiting, Jesus was a military leader, and he was ready to lead the revolt against the Romans to free his people and put himself on the throne of Israel. He knew, after John’s murder, that time was not on his side, and that he had to start the war as soon as possible. He never stayed very long in the same place and he took some bodyguards among them James and John (the sons of thunder), the two “Simons” (one known as the “zealot” and the other as the “terrorist”) and Judas, the “knife man” or sicarius.
To sit on the throne in Jerusalem Jesus needed many followers and a lot of money. At that time the Jewish priesthood was making money selling Jewish membership to Gentiles. Jesus accepted, against payment, many people as first year Qumran initiates, and he “resurrected” many of his close followers to the highest level giving them the secrets of Moses. This was not well accepted by the Qumran Community. This secret mystery, limited to a selected few amongst Jesus’s followers, has not been known until now, even if the answer is in the Bible. The parable of Jesus turning water into wine really means that He used baptism to turn many ordinary people into those ready to enter the “Kingdom of Heaven” at the “end of the age”. In Qumran terminology, the uninstructed were the “water” and the initiated the “wine”. The method used at Qumran to allow a person to enter the inner circle included a ceremony similar to the king-making ceremony of the ancient Egypt of the fourth millennium BC. The initiates, as a result, were called the “living” and the others the “dead”. Simulated resurrection was used at Qumran in the ceremony leading to the “third degree” of their sect, and it can be seen from the Bible that Jesus used the same rituals. In the first stage the candidate was changed from “water into wine” and became part of the “many”; when he was admitted in the inner circle he was “raised from the dead” and became part of the “few” who were the only ones to know the secrets. Those who were not following the rules of the sect were called “buried” or ” falling down” but it was also possible for them to come back in the “few”. As we can see the meaning of “living” and “dead” must not be taken literally as all the evidence point the other way. To the Jews, even more than to us, the idea of bringing a rotting corpse to live is unbelievable, and to the modern Christians it is like believing in magic.
Jesus was not a soft headed person, but more like a present day revolutionary fighting for the freedom of his own land. He asked a lot of himself and of his followers, like leaving their families to concentrate all their loyalties on the group. This he did, and the relations with his mother and with his brother James, the candidate for the “priestly” role, were rather strained, although they came closer when he took the “priestly” as well as the “kingly” messiah role for himself. He was only interested in the future of his Community and ignored the outside world.
Jesus was known as Yahoshua ben Joseph, meaning “saviour the son of Joseph”, but this is not mentioned in the New Testament as he told his disciples not to call any man father on earth. He asked his disciple to refer to God as our “Father”, and this explains why the Gentile Christians thought that he was physically the Son of God although, as a messiah, he also called himself “the son of man”. This description of God as the Father and Jesus as his first son makes sense because, as candidate to become Davidic king of the Jews, he would only be Yahweh’s regent on earth, God being the supreme ruler in a theocratic state.
To enter into “the Kingdom of God” it was necessary to have the High Priest of “tsedeq” at the Temple and the Davidic king of “mishpat” on the throne so that Yahweh could ensure that “shalom” was there for everyone. Yahweh would not come until a state of holiness existed in Israel, and Jesus did his best to improve the common people. To do this he converted as many people as he could to his cause, including “unclean” such as married men, cripples, and even women. To him they were all equally potential sinners, and in need of salvation. To obtain money he had to go to the rich people, such as the tax collectors who were then considered as the worst sinners and they were given unpleasant names. Harlots, for instance, meant that this person met Gentiles in his or her working or social life. He even admitted women to the highest order or, as he said, he did “raise them from the dead”.
Jesus was planning carefully the revolt against the Romans and the Sadducees in Jerusalem. To avoid letting his enemies know his strength he met secretly with his followers, and preached in out-of-the-way places. James still did not accept his right to be a kingly and priestly messiah, but thing were going well, and nothing seemed planned against him in Jerusalem where he planned to show his strength to the authorities and his will to become the King of Israel. He planned His entry in Jerusalem on a young ass to follow Zachariah’s prophecy and, from there, he went to the Temple where he caused a rift with the moneychangers. He retreated safely to Bethany but the Roman and Jewish authorities had already decided to arrest Him with Judas’s help, and to stop the activity of the Qumran sect. Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane directly across the eastern gate of the Temple, the gate of “tsedeq” or righteous. Its two pillars represented the building of the New Jerusalem and the coming “Kingdom of God”. There he waited for the morning star to rise, the star that announced the arrival of the new king of Egypt or, in Qumranian belief, the arrival of their new king.
Jesus thought that His arrest would be followed by an uprising that would be the start of the “war to end the age”, even if he did not expect to survive. However he found the time to initiate a young unknown man to the “third degree”. Jesus, “the King of the Jew”, was arrested during the night as well as his brother James the Just, “the Son of God”. Jesus was not the name of the “kingly messiah”, but his title as a saviour (Yahoshua in Hebrew and Jesus for us). James also was a saviour, so he too had “Jesus” as a title. The Roman Procurator Pontius Pilatus had both arrested and he let the people decide which one should be crucified, and which one should go free. The Bible tells us that the choice was between Jesus and Barabbas but Barabbas means “the Son of God”, that is James. Most of the crowd was from Qumran and they chose to free James, or “Jesus Barabbas” as he was called on that day, rather that Jesus, “the King of the Jews”, who was crucified. An old description that says that he was very small and a hunchback could explain the fact that he died very quickly.
The Star of David, the symbol of the state of Israel, is made up of two triangles. The upward pointing triangle, or pyramid, is an ancient symbol for the power of the king, with its base resting on earth and its summit reaching heaven. The other is, of course, the symbol of the power of the priests based in Heaven and reaching down to earth. If we remove the two horizontal lines we have the Masonic symbol of “square and compass”. The priestly symbol is now the stonemason’s square that measures the uprightness of buildings, and the kingly symbol is the compass which, for the Freemasons, indicates the centre of the circle from which no Mason can err, that is the extent of the power of the king or ruler.
As the Star of David is the symbol of the unified messiah-ship of Jesus it should be the symbol of Christianity, and the three-armed cross, or the “tau” symbol of Yahweh, should be the symbol of Judaism. The crucifix-style cross used by the Christian Church is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph meaning “saviour”, or “Joshua” in Hebrew and Jesus in Greek. The shape of the crucifix is not a symbol of Jesus, but his name. The main symbol of the Royal Arch Degree is the “Triple Tau” that represents the power of king, priest and prophet. The fish, on the other hand, is the ancient badge of priestliness and the symbol of the Nasorean party; the Christians used it at the end of the first century AD. The word “Nasorean” is a form of the word “Nazrani” that means “little fish” and “Christians” in modern Arab and in old Aramaic. James the Just became the first bishop (“Mebakker” in Hebrew) of Jerusalem. He decided to wear a mitre (they came from Egypt with Moses via the Nasoreans; it is a hieroglyph that means “Amen” the creator God of Thebes and meaning, “let it be so”) as bishops still do now.
After Jesus’ death, James the Just retired to Qumran. He was now both the priestly and the kingly pillars and a strong leader living a righteous life; for this reason he was exempt from ritual washing. The killing of “the king of the Jews” by a Roman Procurator was a good publicity for the movement and many people were attracted to it. One of them was Saul, the son of Diaspora Jews living in Southern Turkey. He was brought up as an open minded Jew. The story that he persecuted Christians is difficult to believe since, at that time, the Nasoreans led by James were the more orthodox Jews in Israel. His task consisted to make sure that there was no rebellion against the Romans. He is thought to be responsible for the expulsion of the Mandaeans, part of the Nasoreans at that time, to Southern Iraq in 37 AD. He received a personal message from God in 60 AD on his way to “Damascus”, that is Qumran, as it was also known at that time, and he became a Christian under the name of “Paul”. Being a foreign Jew and a Roman citizen he did not understand, or accept, James’s teaching, and he created his own story of Jesus’ death and his role as a “sacrificial lamb”. He was not told the true secrets of Qumran, as he did not stay there long enough. He was really never converted to the cause of John the Baptist, Jesus and James the Just, and he “invented” his own cult that he called “Christians”, a translation in Greek of the Hebrew name Messiah. He also called Jesus, whom he never met, “Christ”, and he attracted many followers. As he did not understand the Nasorean terminology he taught literally Jesus’ allegories and, from a Jewish patriot, he made a miracle-working god/man. He claimed to have Peter’s support but this is unbelievable. In the Dead Sea Scrolls he is the “Spouter of Lies” (he lied about the mission of Christ, he said that the Law of the Jews was not important and he admitted the uncircumcised). Some Apostles tried to discredit his teaching but without success.
There is some evidence that not only Paul was not a Pharisee but, also, that he was not a born Jew. He was a convert to Judaism, born from Gentile parents in Tarsus. He came to Jerusalem where he worked for the High Priest but, as his future was not certain, he founded his own religion borrowing heavily from Jesus’ teaching and from the Qumran Community. His community would accept Jews, Greeks and other Gentiles alike, and he always made sure to be on the Roman side. He was feared and hatred, and he probably conspired against James who never trusted him. After failing to win the leadership for himself, Paul said that Peter was the real leader of the Jerusalem Church, and not James the Just, their messiah. He was not very popular in Jerusalem where he was nearly lynched in the Temple once, but the Roman soldiers saved him.
In 62 AD James tried to enter into the Jerusalem Temple as Jesus did before. As bishop of Jerusalem he wanted to enter the Holy of Holies but he was soon arrested, and he was stoned to death. Another legend tells us that he was hit on the head with a club but this seems to be an invention to make the murder appears to be similar to that of Hiram Abif, the architect of Solomon’s Temple. According to this story both would have died in a nearly completed temple.
According to Josephus, the historian, the Jewish war of 66-70 AD was caused by the tensions resulting from James the Just’s murder. He was very popular and his ministry lasted about twenty years, compared with the one or three years of Jesus’. The fighting Nasoreans were called Zealots and it is believed that they took Jerusalem and the Temple in November 67 AD. Most of the priests and the city leaders wanted to make peace with Rome, and they were put to death. However the Romans were fighting back, and in the spring of 68 AD it was decided to hide the Temple treasures, sacred scrolls, vessels and tithes. In June of the same years, the Romans took Jericho and Qumran, and in 70 AD Jerusalem fell to Titus and the Zealots were killed or taken prisoners. Finally, the last of the Jews who knew the secrets of the Nasoreans died when the entire population of Masada committed suicide rather that surrender to the Romans. These secrets that passed from Moses to the Nasoreans were hidden below the Temple, near the Holy of Holies, and in other five locations around the country including Qumran. The Copper Scrolls discovered at Qumran is an inventory of all these treasures. It is believed that the Templars discovered another copy of this inventory under the Temple in Jerusalem, and that it allowed them to find the hidden gold and silver, precious objects and many scrolls. This would explain the sudden rise to fame and fortune of their Order.
After that the Jews lost the war and the Temple was destroyed, all the treasures and the scrolls lay hidden and forgotten. Christianity, that should be better called “Paulianity”, replaced Jesus’ teachings and the Nasoreans. As modern Christian theology does not reflect Jesus’ teachings, it must be assumed that the present dogma is a latter addition invented by St Paul and very different from the revolutionary egalitarian ideas of Jesus. That Jesus was a revolutionary and a pioneer of democracy, and that Paul changed all this, has been hidden for a long time but now it has come back to life with the Dead Sea Scrolls and other old documents. (8)
2.7 Royal Arch Freemasonry
The Royal Arch Freemasonry was the predecessor of the Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem. The change was made following external pressure on the Grand Lodge. In this older ritual the candidate is first tested on the content of the first three “Craft” degrees. He is then admitted to a lodge that he has known before. Its officers are not the Worshipful Master and the Two Wardens but “Three Principals” that form a Sanhedrin (the elder council of the Second Temple representing Priest, King and prophet). They represent the three principals who held the third, or Grand and Royal Lodge in the second Temple after the return of the Jews from Babylon. This triad was composed of Haggai the Prophet; Jeshua, son of Josedech the High Priest and heir to the tradition of Aaron and the Levites; and Zerubbabel, King of the line of David. The two previous lodges are known as the First or Holy Lodge opened by Moses, Aholiab and Bezaleel at the foot of the Mount Horeb in the Sinai; and the Second or Sacred Lodge held by Solomon, King of Israel, Hiram, King of Tyre and Hiram Abif near Mount Moriah.
After answering the test questions the Master Mason wishing to become a member of the Order is given a grip and a password. He is wearing his Master Mason’s apron, is blindfolded, and a rope is tied around his waist. Before being allowed to enter the “Chapter” (that is now the name of this lodge) the candidate must answer more questions about his reasons for wishing to be admitted, he then kneel while a prayer is said asking the Blessing of the Almighty and Eternal Father. The First Principal first ascertains himself that the candidate believes in God and then asks him to advance toward a veiled pedestal in a sequence of seven steps similar to that used by the high Priest entering the Holy of Holies in the First Temple. The candidate is then told that he has to descend symbolically in a vaulted chamber and he is asked to tell the content of a scroll that is put in his hands. Being blindfolded he replies that deprived of light he cannot read it. This looks like a re-enactment of the Templar finding some scrolls below the Jerusalem Temple. The candidate is again lowered symbolically in the vault and Haggai 2:1-9 is read (this deals with the rebuilding of the Temple and a reminder of the Qumran Community). The candidate seals his obligations towards the Order by kissing four times the Bible. The blindfold is removed, the candidate can now read the scroll and finally he is told how the scroll was found.
The candidate leaves the Chapter and re-enters it dressed as a Royal Arch Mason. He is joined by two other Companions referred, together, as “the three sojourners” known as the three Master Masons of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego. After the ceremony known as Passing the veils (representing a Priest approaching the Holy of Holies of the Temple of Solomon), they present themselves to the First Principal as three children of the captivity who have learned that the Temple is being rebuilt at Jerusalem and asking to be allowed to participate in the work. After explaining who they are, they say that they decided to come back to Jerusalem from Babylon to offer their help on hearing about the reconstruction of the Temple. Zerubbabel tells them that only lower tasks are left and that they will have to prepare the foundations of the Temple for which they receive the necessary tools. Moreover any substantial discovery they make must be reported to the Three Principals sitting in Council. They are then allowed to leave.
The three Masons from Babylon re-enter to report that during the excavations they have discovered seven pairs of pillars that probably were part of the gallery leading to the Holy of Holies. Following this they found an archway, and below it a vault. One child of Babylon was lowered in the vault and he found a pedestal and a scroll that he could not read by lack of light until pulled out. They were now able to see that the scroll contained the Most High Law as given by God at the Mount Sinai. The same child went down the vault a second time and, as the sun was shining in it, he was able to examine the marble pedestal on which was engraved the sacred Word covered by a veil. After leaving the vault the aperture was closed again. Asked what the sacred Word was the children refused to say it as only the high Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and stand before the Ark of the Covenant. Later in the ceremony the candidate is told that the word engraved on the pedestal is “Jah-Bul-On” that means “I am and shall be; Lord in Heaven; Father of All”.
It has also been said that “Jah-Baal (instead of Bul)-On” was in fact an expression made with the names given to the three great gods of the Jews, the Canaanites and the Egyptians, all of them referred as the “Most High” merging, as the Freemasons do, the three gods in one deity. This, of course, would mean that the Royal Arch Freemasonry did not start the story but, on the contrary, that it came down to them without explanation. The excavation, according to the story, was made by Jews from Babylon, but it looks more like a description of the work made by the Knights Templar as the general description fits better with the construction techniques used for the last Temple and unknown before.
If the Templars were the first to excavate below Herod’s Temple, they were not the last ones. In 1894 some British Army Officers led by Lieutenant Charles Wilson entered the caves below the Temple and mapped the vaults. They confirmed that the chambers and passageways were vaulted with keystone arches. They also confirmed that they were not the first to visit the galleries, and they even found some Templars artefacts left there seven hundred and forty years before.
An illustration belonging to Ghent University Library, “The heavenly Jerusalem circa 1200 AD”, shows a symbolic design of a rebuilt Jerusalem. The design shown twelve towers: one principal heavenly tower, two major towers emerging from the central pillars, three lesser towers with their own pillars and six background towers. The two major towers that rise from the two main pillars are supporting an archway and the principal heavenly tower. Both are identified as Jacob, better known as James. This confirms that James became both the mishpat and tsedeq pillars after the death of his brother, Jesus. In other words he became the joint messiah as Jesus had been. The design included also three Masonic squares and compasses.
In around 1119 AD Hugues de Payen and eight other knights opened a vault under the ruins of Herod’s Temple and found some secret scrolls of the Qumran Community. They were written in Hebrew and in Aramaic, and the illiterate knights had them translated by an elderly canon called Lambert who died soon after, but not before doing a copy of the drawing of the heavenly Jerusalem. It shows that the two pillars are called “Jacob” (that is “James”), the Arch is named Zion (Israel) and that the founder is John the Baptist but, strange enough in this Christian document, there is no mention of Jesus. It obviously comes from Herod’s Temple and the symbolism in it is without any doubt Masonic. It also confirms that James was both pillars of the Nasoreans. The document dates from over five hundred years before the square and the compass symbols were officially adopted by the Masons, and yet they appear clearly in the drawing. This can only mean that the Jerusalem Church used these Masonic symbols. The three square are beneath the twin pillars; the right one is named Andrew, the central one, Peter and the name of the left one is illegible. This shows clearly that the Catholic Church assertion that their authority descend directly from Jesus via Peter is not correct since James was the leader of the Jerusalem Church, and that Peter was second to him. These three towers, with their three sets of squares and compasses, are to put in relation with the three main figures in a Masonic Lodge, the Worshipful Master and his two Wardens, who represent the sun (Re), the moon (Thoth) and the Master of the Lodge. At the time of the crusades every map placed Jerusalem at the centre of the earth, the Temple at the centre of the city, and the Holy of Holies at the centre of the Temple. The two pillars in Lambert’s drawing are at the centre of New Jerusalem, the place where the secrets of Moses and Jesus were found. For the Templars it was also the most central point on earth. Like all Masonic Degree the Royal Arch Freemasonry Degree has a “tracing board” that shows the subject of the Order. The design is based on the excavation of the Temple.
All this confirms that the Templars found the secrets of their Order on the scrolls buried by the Nasoreans, secrets that they excavated under Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem, and that their initiation ceremony was based on a living resurrection, as performed by Jesus. The Templars could not share their secrets with the whole world but they used them to consolidate their power. The Templars used part of their wealth to build at least eighty cathedrals and about five hundred abbeys in one century starting in 1170. They hired thousand of masons, but they directed their work as their aim was to “rebuild Jerusalem” in France. They did it following the instructions left by James and his Nasorean followers who thought that their mission was to build Heaven on Earth. As a result, it can be said that the Templars had become masters of both speculative and operative Masonry. (8)