Masonic Roots: Christ, Solomon, or Baal?
By Keith Harris
You have read in other chapters that Freemasonry is a non-sectarian Order embracing principles of all religions. Such boasts of universality is a most predominant portion of Masonic belief. Even with varied religious principles, the Order must have a beginning or "roots" from which it draws.
This chapter is devoted to the "roots" of Freemasonry. Not those of flesh and blood lineage, but the source from which its philosophy is drawn, in particular, the "Third Degree Ritual" and its true reverence.
As to the origin of the Craft, Masons themselves disagree. This lack of unity may stem from personal resentment of evidence or a variety of other reasons. Thus, only those sources deemed reliable must again be our reference. *Also see "Spurious Freemasonry"-appendix.
Found in the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (Mackey-McClenachan) under the heading "Christianization of Freemasonry" are the first traces of Masonic reverence:
"The principles of Freemasonry preceded the advent of Christianity. Its symbols and its legends are derived from the Solomonic Temple and from the people anterior to that. Its religion comes from the ancient priesthood; its faith was that primitive one of Noah and his immediate descendants."
We see then that the symbols and legends derive from the Solomonic Temple. This aspect refers us to the legend of the Third Degree Ritual which revolves around King Solomon and Hiram, the widows son.
We see also that these symbols and legends derive from peoples anterior or prior to the Solomonic period. This gives reference to Egypt and their god Osiris, of which Masonic authorities state and one to which we shall later refer.
Freemasonry's faith or beliefs are said to have come from Noah and his immediate descendants. We shall examine all the afore mentioned aspects in chronological order beginning with Noah.
After the flood spoken of in Genesis, we find that only eight persons survived that great and awful event. Eight alone to replenish the human race, Noah and his wife, their three sons and their wives. From these came the nations of men.
"These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood." (Genesis 10:32)
It is evident that all philosophical beliefs and principles also sprang from, or through these persons. In Genesis, Chapter Ten, we find listed the descendants Noah's three sons, Japheth, Ham, and Shem.
In Genesis 11:10-27 we have record of lineage from Shem to Abram (Abraham). Matthew, Chapter One and Luke, Chapter Three of the New Testament complete the lineage through Abraham to Christ Jesus, revealing the Shemites or Semitic lineage (that of flesh and blood) as that one designated by God as His "chosen people" through which Jesus would later come. Hence the roots and instructional reference of the Christian faith.
As Christianity permeates every culture and race, flesh and blood lineage is impertinent because Christ accepts whosoever to become a partaker of his righteousness. By this spiritual embodiment-known as the "Church" (Born Again Believers)-we become of the spiritual house of Abraham (Galations 3:26-29).
It would be interesting were Freemasonry to have it's philosophical roots through the principles of the Shemite lineage. However, when compared to Christianity, their origin is different and their histories are dissimilar.
The only substantial evidence given of Noah in Masonry appears in the term "Noahchida" derived from the "legend of the Craft" which reflects that Noah was "the father and founder of the Masonic system of theology" Masonic reference to Noah however, is heavily fantasized and purely symbolic in nature, as the following demonstrates:
"Such are the Noachic traditions of Masonry, which, though if considered as materials of history, would be worth but little, yet have furnished valuable sources of symbolism, and in that way are full of wise instruction."(Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Noahchida: alphabetically listed).
Found in the same Encyclopedia, under the same heading:
"After the death of Noah, his sons removed from the region of Mount Ararat, where, until then, they had resided, and "traveling from the East, found a plain in the land of Shinar, and dwelt there." Here they commenced the building of a lofty tower." (ibid.)
In the Biblical account, Shinar is the name of the land in which were located the cities of Babylon, Erech, Accad, and the root "balal" ("to confound"-Hebrew), and has reference to the confusion of languages at this lofty tower mentioned above. (Genesis 11:9).
Masonic writings give little insight to the Shemites or Japhethites, but dwell heavily on a descendant of Ham as one of the founders of Masonry-Nimrod. In the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (Mackey-McClenachan), under the heading "Nimrod," we find:
"The legend of the Craft in the Old Constitutions refers to Nimrod as one of the founders of Masonry. Thus in the York MS., No. 1, we read: "At ye making of ye toure of Babell there was a Masonrie first much esteemed of, and the King of Babilon yt called Nimrod was a Mason himself and loved well Masons"."
Nimrod was the most outstanding leader in the period between the flood and Abraham, a very enterprising man. His wide-spread popularity is noted in the cities named in connection to him, Birs Nimrud, Tell Nimrud near Bagdad; the Mound of Nimrud (ancient Calah). Being a "mighty hunter" not only revealed his military might, but also his protectiveness in a time when wild animals were a continual menace. He was also the first to built fenced or fortified cities. (From Halley's Bible Handbook)
Not only did Nimrod "love well Masons," they too esteem him of great personage for his work in Masonry. Many Masons who profess Christianity refer to Genesis 10:9 to substantiate his greatness and virtue in the phrase "mighty hunter before the Lord." However, a minute study of this thought and phrase will reveal his virtue to be quite the opposite than what is commonly accepted.
The word "mighty" (gibbowr, Hebrew) means-"warrior, tyrant". A tyrant is one who exercises power in a harsh, cruel manner. Nimrod is also known in history as a hunter of men. The latter part of the phrase "before the Lord" stems around the word "before" which comes from the Hebrew word "paniym" meaning-"the face (as the part that turns)". This reflects to us that Nimrod was a tyrant who turned his face from the Lord. This is why the Hebrew people referred to him as "the rebel" or "rebellious one".
Many cities and nations had for their chief god their founder; such was the case with Nimrod. To make this "god" more real and honorable, images were made to represent him; later the images themselves came to be worshipped. This was also true of certain constellations being attributed to him after his death. Thus, the chief god of Babylon, and Ninevah, Nimrod, had images referring to him. These images glorified his attributes as protector, leader, god of war, knowledge, etc.
It was during the building of the tower of Babel, also attributed to Nimrod, that god confused the languages of the people and the building was stopped. The bible states that the whole world was of one speech (language) prior to this event (Genesis 11). At the "confusion of languages" people could no longer speak the name of their god. Thus, Nimrod, their chief god, was now known by multiple names due to multiple languages.
As Nimrod had so many things attributed to him, it was only reasonable for peoples, now in segregation, to adopt the portion of belief best interpreted by each group. Thus, diverse religious attributes and beliefs, yet peoples remaining reverent to their god. We find such names for this revered god (Nimrod) in scripture as Chemosh, Molock, Merodach, Remphan, Tamuz, and Baal, to mention only a few of the some thirty-eight Biblical titles plus numerous representatives of these "gods". Under the heading of "Nimrod" found in Halley's Bible Handbook, pg. 82:
"Babylonia was long known as the "Land of Nimrod". He was afterward deified, his name being identical with "Merodach"."
Under the heading of "Merodach", in Tyndales New Bible Dictionary we find:
"Merodach. The Heb. form of the Babylonian divine name Marduk. . . . Marduk was the primary deity of Babylon and was later called by his epithet Bel (Ba'al), so that his defeat was synonymous with that of his people (Jer. 50:2) as was that of the earlier Canaanite Ba'al."
Baal worship was a form of the Old Sun Worship, for Baal (Nimrod as we have seen) was represented by the Sun. Many names throughout Biblical and classical history appear and refer to Nimrod. These formed what is referred to as the Ancient Mysteries.
What of Egypt?
Albert Pike, in his book Morals & Dogma, pg. 624 ,refers to the Ancient Mysteries and Freemasonry as being identical, with exceptions found only in that of progressive alterations. As all ancient mysteries independently examined would be a timely and spacious task, it is only necessary to expound on the mystery religion which Masonry itself deems true. Thus:
"Egypt has always been considered as the birthplace of the mysteries. It was there that the ceremonies of initiation were first established. It was there that truth was first veiled in allegory, and the dogmas of religion were first imparted under symbolic forms." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, heading "Egyptian Mysteries"):
We have found that Masonic symbols and legends derive from peoples anterior to the Solomonic Temple (beginning of chapter). Is Egypt then a major source of such? Yes.
"To Egypt, therefore, Masons have always looked with peculiar interest as the cradle of that mysterious science of symbolism whose peculiar modes of teaching they alone, of all modern institutions, have preserved to the present day." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry-"Egyptian Mysteries")
We have found also that the Masonic "religion" comes from the ancient priesthood (beginning of chapter). One might think this refers to the Levitical Priesthood of the Bible, however, the priesthood of Egypt is their reference:
"The priesthood of Egypt constituted a sacred caste, in whom the sacredotal functions were hereditary." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry-"Egyptian Mysteries")
Although varied countries had many gods, only certain gods (or exalted positions) were represented by the sun and Moon. Found in Albert Pike's Morals & Dogma pg. 406:
"We know that the Egyptians worshipped the Sun, under the name of Osiris."
Mr. Pike connects Baal Worship and Osiris as identical:
"The Goths had three festivals; the most magnificent do so of which commenced at the winter solstice, and was celebrated in honor of Thor, the Prince of the Power of the Air".
"Thor was the Sun, the Egyptian Osiris and Kneph, the Phoenician Bel or Baal. The initiations were had in huge intricate caverns, terminating, as all the Mithriac caverns did, in a spacious vault, where the candidate was brought to light." (note: "brought to light") (emphasis added) (Morals & Dogma, page 368). .
The Legend of Osiris, the Egyptian god, is significant to Masonry due to the ritual of the "Third Degree" as well as other teachings which are deep-rooted in Egyptian legend. This legend and the legend of Hiram Abiff, a ritual familiar to all Third Degree Masons, have similarities which cannot be overlooked when compared:
Osiris was the chief god of Egypt, the son and husband of Isis. Osiris is said to have been killed by his jealous brother Typhon by trickery. Osiris was nailed in a chest and cast into the Nile. Later, his dead body was cast up at Byblos in Phoenicia and left at the foot of a Tamarind tree. Isis retrieved his body only to lose it again to the jealous brother who then cut him into fourteen pieces which he scattered around the kingdom. Isis again went in search of Osiris and found all the body parts except the phallus which had been eaten by a crab in the Nile. Isis then made a Phallus which was to be sacred (origin of the Obelisk).
She embalmed him thus claiming restoration and gave rise to the concept that the immortality of the soul was dependent on the preservation of the body. Osiris was afterward known as the Lord of the Underworld. He was also god of the Sun and god of fertility, worshipped in orgiastic sex rituals.
Third Degree Masonic Ritual
As Masonry has preserved the Egyptian science of symbolism, it is apparent that an observation or ritual exists projecting from Egypt. Thus, the ritual of the Third Degree or Master Mason Degree. This ritual is centered around the supposition of King Solomon and Hiram.
As the story goes, Hiram of Tyre and a widows son, was working on Solomon's Temple when approached by three ruffians desiring the Master's Word. The time was high twelve and all other workers were out for refreshment. As Hiram refused on three occasions or confrontations to give the word, he was killed after a blow to the forehead with a setting maul by the third ruffian. Hiram was then buried in the temple until low twelve, or midnight, at which time the ruffians return to take his body (westerly) to again bury him. King Solomon, the following day, found him missing and the craft in confusion, required the cause.
The workmen had already searched for Hiram but without success. thus, King Solomon again sent out a search. After several days of searching and upon return, the party stopped to rest and refresh themselves. By accident they discover the newly made grave of Hiram beneath an acacia tree. At this time they hear lamenting at a nearby cleft, the self impending penalties (same as oath penalties) of Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum, the ruffians. Thus the search was over and the murderers caught.
The candidate for Third Degree Initiation, after preliminary ritual, is found lying on the floor representing the death of Hiram. The Junior Warden takes hold of the candidates right hand and attempts to "raise" him from death but without success. His hand slips from the candidates hand symbolizing the slipping off of the skin and an insufficient grip.
The Senior Warden then makes an attempt but fails, do symbolically to the flesh cleaving from the bone. Again an insufficient grip.
The Worshipful Master, symbolizing King Solomon, successfully raises the candidate using the "Strong Grip" or "Lion's Paw Grip". The candidate is thus raised on the five points of fellowship-foot to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand to back, cheek to cheek. In this position the Master gives the Grand Masonic Word-"Mah-Hah-Bone".
This raising of the candidate is to symbolize the resurrection, which is the object of the degree. (note: "Mah-Hah-Bone"-Hebrew rendition-"What! the builder?")
This ritual, has of course, a Masonic/Christian interpretation, which according to Albert Pike goes as follows:
"The murder of Hiram, his burial, and his being raised again by the Master, are symbols, both of the Redeemer; and of the death and burial in sins of the natural man, and his being raised again to a new life, or born again, by the direct action of the Redeemer;" (Morals & Dogma pg. 640)
We must note that the above ritual is only symbolic as is stated here, that is, not the actual thing. We must remember also that the Blue Degrees (First Three) are intentionally misled by false interpretation. Thus, this ritual does not actually refer to Hiram, especially when compared to the Biblical account.
Masonry claims that Hiram died "during the work", yet the Bible tells us that Hiram (Huram) "finished the work" and mentions nothing of his death and miraculous recovery at the hand of Solomon. We also find that this was God's house, not Solomon's:
"And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the house of God." (.II Chronicles 4:11)
As the legends of Osiris and Hiram are compared we see both died at the hand of a brother. They were twice searched for. Both were found at the foot of a tree. Both had a loss: Osiris has a missing body part; The Master's Word is lost.
The following information tells us that the Third Degree Ritual is not actually that of Hiram nor Christ, but the epic of Osiris. Thus, in the Third Degree of Masonry the initiate is actually entering into the death, burial, and resurrection of Osiris. Speaking of the Degree of "Knight of the Brazen Serpent; Pike elaborates for us:
"While it teaches the necessity of reformation as well as repentance, as a means of obtaining mercy and forgiveness, it is also devoted to an explanation of the symbols of Masonry; and especially to those which are connected with that ancient and universal legend, of which that of Khir-Om Abi is but a variation; that legend which, representing a murder or a death, and a restoration to life, by a drama which figure Osiris, Isis and Horus, . . . and many another representative of active and passive powers of Nature, taught the Initiates in the Mysteries that the rule of Evil and Darkness is but temporary, and that of Light and Good will be eternal." (note: "Khir-Om Abi"-"Hiram Abiff") (Morals and dogma, pg. 435)
The "raised" candidate is stated as being raised into a philosophy of regeneration, or the new birth of all things. In effect, he is becoming born again through the power of Masonry.
This reverence, as that of Egypt, reveals the worship or exaltation of the things of nature. Albert Pike, on pages 476 & 477 of Morals and dogma, says this of nature and Osiris: "Everything good in Nature comes from Osiris". This typifies not only life out of death, but the regeneration of the things of nature or "generative power" (sexual reproductive power).
In addition, "Osiris and Isis were the sun and Moon, is attested by many ancient writers" (Morals and dogma, page 476), which, as we have seen is reference to Baal or Nimrod, one of the founders of Masonry. Thus Osiris, Nimrod, Baal, Merodach, etc. are synonymous, that is, one and the same.
This Masonic reverence to the Sun is familiar to all Masons, even if unknowingly, in the symbol of the All-Seeing Eye:
"The Sun was termed by the Greeks the Eye of Jupiter, and the Eye of the World; and his is the All-Seeing Eye in our Lodges." (note: "his"-Osiris, ) ( Morals and dogma, pgs. 476, 477)
Speaking of those of Thebes, an ancient city in Upper Egypt, Pike mentions:
"Soon they personified the sun, and worshipped him under the name of Osiris, and transmuted the legend of his descent among the Winter Signs, into a fable of his death, his descent into the infernal regions, and his resurrection."
It is noteworthy to mention, that the Officers at the opening of lodge ceremonies-Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens-are seated in stations in the East, South, and West. In religious symbolism of Freemasonry, they represent the Sun at "his" rising, "his" meridian, and "his" setting ("his"-their words).
Many Masons today are duped into the same worship of Baal as of old. The All-Seeing Eye they are told, represents God, as does the letter "G". The name "God" however, is mistaken in quite the same way as the name "Baal" in the Old Testament. The name "Baal" carried the meaning-"lore, possessor"-which, by name, was very easily mistaken for the God of Abraham who is also called "Lord". The manner in which each was worshipped however, was quite different and obvious when compared. Such is the Masonic/Christian Conflict!
With all the different names for Nimrod, yet many similarities in cultural attributes, philosophers, in later years began to congregate those things common in belief to again philosophically regain the once admired religion (possibly without being aware of such). It was only natural for elite philosophers to recognize the most elaborate and dogmatic of these peoples from which to draw their assumptions. Egypt was that main source, especially for Freemasonry, for Freemasonry is a mystical, Speculative search.
"The history of Masonry is the history of Philosophy." (Morals and dogma, pg. 540)
The roots of Freemasonry lie in Egyptian Legend with reverence to Osiris or Baal (Nimrod), thus becoming Baal Worship. Not Baal worship fictitiously stated, but actual Baal Worship through ritual and appellation.
Its faith is indeed that primitive one of Noah and his immediate descendants, particularly Nimrod, who was deified under the name Merodach, Baal, Osiris, etc. The Solomonic Legend was conjured in order for Christians to appear adaptable, for Solomon never raised anyone from death to life. The only possibility of this was through symbolism when Solomon did "evil in the sight of the Lord":
"Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And like wise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods." (I Kings 11:7-8)
The tribes of Israel were often seduced into the worship of Nimrod (Baal, Osiris), not only because of the confusing name "Baal", but due largely to their Egyptian bondage. As a nation, Israel is said to have had its birth at the Exodus from Egypt. During the Egyptian bondage they multiplied in number under the influence of Egyptian custom and worship.
After the Exodus from Egypt, the gaiety and licentious character of the Egyptian god was soon revealed at the absence of their leader Moses. Moses had gone up Mt. Sinai where he received the Ten Commandments from the Lord. Upon his return he found the Israelites worshipping an Egyptian Image, a symbol of Osiris and generative power, a golden calf.
In Smith's Bible Dictionary under the heading "Calf":
"Image for worship made at Sinai in imitation of the Apis of Egypt, from the jewelry borrowed of the Egyptians (Ex. xxxii. 2). Not of solid gold, but of wood, gilded and plated with gold (as the emblem of Osiris-Apis-was made).
The Israelites were to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not the "gods" of surrounding peoples. They were warned of such:
"Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images." (Exodus 12:12)
Moses undoubtedly recognized the symbol-for he was reared by Pharaoh's daughter and "was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). In an outburst of anger Moses broke the tables of stone containing the Ten Commandments. This Israelite Idolatry brought about the death of around three thousand people. In addition, "the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made." (Exodus 32).
The calf was always a bull, with horns, representing sexual strength, or generative power. Paganism is always sexual in its outworkings and ultimately, Phallus worship.
Time and again Israel was seduced into such worship (Deuteronomy 13:6, 7). Many representatives, in one fashion or another, were those of the false god Baal (Nimrod, Osiris). Canaanite gods, Assyrian gods, the gods of the Ammorites and Moabites, to mention only a few strange gods were worshipped.
In Unger's Bible Dictionary, speaking of "Idolatry" among the Ten Tribes of Israel, we find:
"Jeroboam, fresh from his recollections of the Apis worship of Egypt, erected golden calves at Beth-el and Dan, and by this crafty state policy severed effectively the kingdoms of Judah and Israel (I Kings 12:26-33)." note: "Apis", the Bull, was also a symbol of the strength of Nimrod. end of note."
With all the fallacies throughout our land and country, there is none which can effectively topple Christianity. Only when such outside influence is allowed to filter into Christian congregations through church membership, commissions, and leadership positions, is the Church world affected. Freemasonry is not an outside influence. It is an inside influence!
As Jeroboam effectively severed Judah and Israel, Freemasonry is slowly severing Christian witness. The Holy Spirit has vacated so many of our congregations and for just cause. Baal Worship is still at large! Satan is once again using the oldest strategy in the world-Conquer the enemy from within to best conquer him from without. Joshua says:
"Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:14-15).
But, there is an escape, an out for the Christian willing to take a Godly stand against the darkness. I pray each reader will take that Godly stand today!
"But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light." (Ephesians 5:13)