Death, Burial and Resurrection
Most professing Christians who are members of the Masonic Order have no idea that what actually transpires during the Hiramic Legend of the Master Mason degree is the new members baptism into the religion of Freemasonry.
The new member, called a candidate, is neither sprinkled nor immersed; there is no water involved in the ceremony. Perhaps this is why professing Christians who are members of the Order dont recognize the ceremony as being what it actually is. For most, when they hear of baptism, they seem to automatically think of a sprinkling of water, or total immersion in a baptismal font. Perhaps this is the reason for the obvious question that comes to the minds of most Christians who are outside the lodge: "How can you possibly have something called a baptism, without water?" The answer is very simple, yet it is also complex.
Symbolism and allegory are the keys to understanding Freemasonry. They are the keys to understanding the baptism of the candidate that is exemplified by his symbolic death, burial, and resurrection as he is supposedly portraying a person by the name of Hiram Abif during an acted out drama that is admittedly a trumped up chain of events that never happened in the first place.
To help us in our endeavors to better understand the allegories and symbolisms of the Hiramic Legend, there are a few words that should be defined. I have used the dictionary of the World Book Encyclopedia as a reference, which is a Thorndike-Barnhart Dictionary, published exclusively for Field Enterprises Educational Corporation. When a different source is used, I will so indicate.
This is the definition of the word, baptism, that most of us who are Christians think of, thus the confusion about the "waterless" baptism performed by the Masonic Order. However, look very closely at this second definition of the word, from the same dictionary:
As you can see, the scope of baptism, particularly outside of the Christian church, has now been broadened with this second definition of the word.
I would like to quote from an additional source, regarding the definition of baptism as it pertains to at least one major Christian denomination of the body of Christ. From the Report of Committee on Baptist Faith and Message, as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention on May 9, 1963, we find this:
Here it is clearly spelled out that the baptism a Christian believer undergoes is symbolic of the believers death, burial, and resurrection, "..to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus."
Note the similarity between this definition and the second definition of the word previously quoted, which also speaks of being introduced into " a new kind of life".
Of course, we must define Freemasonry, in order that we may more fully understand what it is we are dealing with, and in all fairness to the Order, I think we should allow Freemasonry to offer up its own definition. The Heirloom Bible Publishers, Wichita, Kansas, publishes a Master Reference Edition of the Holy Bible, King James Version, exclusively for Freemasonry. As far as I have been able to ascertain, its primary distributor to lodges and individual members is the Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Company. On page 26 of this Heirloom Masonic bible, we find the following:
And because of this definition of Freemasonry, we are necessarily brought to the definition of the word, allegory:
Bearing all this in mind, let us now take a look at what transpires within a Masonic lodge room, as a new member, called a "candidate", undergoes the three degrees of Blue Lodge Masonry. This "walk through", by the way, including the legendary portrayal we will be into shortly, is as per Nevadas blue lodge ritual, which is where I was a Mason.
An overview of ritual
The Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft degrees, mechanically, are pretty much in "lock-step" with each other. The lessons and teachings covered in each of these degrees is different, one from the other, but the mechanics are basically the same. In each of these degrees, the candidate dons the required clothing, which includes a blindfold; he enters the lodge room and is conducted around the lodge room for inspection; he kneels at an altar to assume an obligation; his blindfold is removed; he is invested with certain signs, grips, and words; he proves to the principal officers that he can properly communicate said signs, grips, and words, he is presented, emblematically, with the Working Tools of the degree; he is led from the lodge room so he can change into his regular clothing; and he is then returned to the lodge room for further instruction, by way of a lecture.
In the Master Mason degree, however, once the candidate has undergone procedures somewhat similar to what he experiences in the Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft degrees, but before he receives instruction by way of a lecture, which he will hear later, he finds himself in a very different situation. After donning his own clothing, rather than returning to the lodge room for instruction, by way of a lecture, he is returned to the south side of the lodge room and escorted to the empty chair which is the station of the Junior Warden, one of the three principal officers of the lodge.
He is given a ruse of an explanation that he will be sitting in the station of the Junior Warden, as an honorary sort of thing, in celebration of his having become a Master Mason. The jewel of the Junior Warden is hung around his neck, and he is shown a very simple procedure he is to follow when the Worshipful Master raps his gavel, signaling the members present that lodge has resumed. His instructions are to stand the gavel that is resting on the stand in front of him, to an upright position, signifying that lodge has returned from refreshments to labor (in other words, signifying that the short recess period called for the purpose of allowing him time to get back into his regular clothes is now over with).
The Worshipful Master raps his gavel; the candidate leans forward and places the Junior Wardens gavel in the upright position; then he sits back to enjoy the celebration of his achievement, or so he thinks.
However, the Worshipful Master raps his gavel a second time, looks to the candidate and says, "Brother Junior Warden, what is the hour?". The candidate stands up, but he is usually very confused at this point, because he has no idea what the meaning of the question is. The Worshipful Master raps his gavel again and repeats, "Brother Junior Warden, what is the hour?".
Now the Senior Warden rises and says, "Worshipful Master, there appears to be a stranger in the South."
The Worshipful Master says, "What?! A stranger in the South?! Brother Senior Deacon, conduct the stranger to the East."
The candidate is then brought before the Worshipful Master who tells him: Even though he has been obligated as a Master Mason; even though he has received the Working Tools of a Master Mason, including the proper use of the Trowel, the principal Working Tool of a Master Mason; even though he has been taught to wear his apron as a Master Mason; and even though he now wears the jewel of the Junior Warden, one of the three principal officers of the lodge, he has not yet attained to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason. He has not yet proven himself to be a Master Mason.
The Worshipful Master advises him that there is one more hill he must climb, so to speak - one more test he must pass, to demonstrate that he is indeed a Master Mason. He is informed that it is a dangerous way to go, and that he may even meet with death, as did once befall an eminent brother of this degree.
(Please note a similarity at this point, between Christian baptism, and what I refer to as Masonic baptism: I have already quoted from the Southern Baptist statement on baptism that baptism " , is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership " In a Masonic lodge room, the Worshipful Master informs the candidate that what he is about to endure is prerequisite to his becoming a Master Mason.)
The Senior Deacon conducts the candidate to the altar, where he is once again blindfolded. He is caused to kneel and pray. He is told that his prayer may be mental or audible, and when he has concluded it, he is to audibly say "Amen", and rise. Upon conclusion of the candidates prayer, the Hiramic Legend begins.
The candidate represents Hiram Abif in
It had been promised to the workmen on the temple that upon its completion, those who were found worthy would receive the secrets, but three of the Fellow Crafts got a little over anxious and entered into a pact of extorting the secrets which Hiram supposedly held. So, one day Hiram is confronted by these ruffians, demanding the secrets from him. He refuses their demands, and they kill him.
At midnight, or low-twelve, under the cover of darkness, they remove his body from the temple grounds and take it to the brow of a hill where a grave had already been dug for the purpose, and bury him.
The ruffians attempt to flee the country, but they are discovered by three Fellow Crafts who had been sent out in search of them. They are returned to the temple and brought before King Solomon, who is portrayed by the Worshipful Master. They confess their guilt, and are summarily executed.
A new search is launched to find the remains of Hiram Abif. These same three Fellow Crafts return to the brow of the hill where they had come across the ruffians, and there they discover what appears to be a newly made grave. They dig down and find a body. Owing to the high state of decomposition, the body cannot easily be recognized, but the Fellow Crafts remove the jewel from around its neck and carry it back to King Solomon, who identifies it as being the jewel of Grand Master Hiram Abif.
King Solomon then leads a procession to the gravesite, presumably for the purpose of removing the body from the grave and returning it to the temple for more decent interment. Further, he advises the workmen that even though the Masters Word, which it had been promised they would eventually receive, has now been lost, he will devise a substitute word that will do just fine until the real word is found again.
In a lecture that the candidate is to hear later on, after the conclusion of the Hiramic Legend, he is told that the body of Hiram was indeed removed from the temporary grave and returned to the temple, where it was buried in due form. But that is not what transpires at the gravesite.
Rather, King Solomon orders the Senior Grand Warden (Hiram, king of Tyre) to raise the body by the grip of an Entered Apprentice. The Senior Grand Warden applies that grip to the cadaver, but owing to the high state of decomposition, the skin slips from the flesh, and the body cannot be raised. King Solomon then orders him to apply the grip of a Fellow Craft. He does so - first, with the Pass Grip of a Fellow Craft, and then with the Real Grip of a Fellow Craft - and for the same reasons as before, neither of those grips is strong enough. King Solomon asks, "What shall we do?". And the Senior Grand Warden suggests, "Let us pray.".
The Chaplain then leads all those present in a prayer which concludes with,
As the candidate is "raised", he and the Worshipful Master assume the position known as the five points of fellowship; and while in that position, which is foot to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand to back, and cheek to cheek, or mouth to ear, the Worshipful Master whispers the words, "Mah-Ha-Bone" into the ear of the candidate, "Mah-Ha-Bone" being what is called the substitute for the Masters Word.
And it is at this point, know as "raising", that the candidate symbolically experiences the third and final stage of the symbolism of baptism - Resurrection.
With the exception of explaining to the candidate what the word, "Mah-Ha-Bone" means - "What, the Builder"; and instructing him in the proper use of the Grand Hailing Sign of Distress, this pretty much concludes the second section of the degree.
You know doubt have noticed by now that there is no re-interment. No body is returned to the temple for the purpose of burying it in due form, because at this point, there is no body. The purpose of the Hiramic Legend is NOT the re-enactment of some nonsensical fairy tale with a moral attached to it, much like an Aesops Fable. The REAL intended purpose of the entire staged production, this "allegory illustrated by symbols", is just exactly what is symbolized - the death, burial, and resurrection of the candidate, that symbolism being exactly the same as is done by immersion in the baptismal font of a Christian church.
The candidate, "representing" Hiram Abif, has not been initiated into a fraternity. Rather, the candidate, representing no one but himself, has been baptized into "the religious faith of Freemasonry". (Remember that phrase. You will be encountering it again.)
Why do those who profess to be Christians not realize what it is that is happening to them at the time? The explanation is quite simple:
Generally, I would say that if an individual has had no discernment up to this point that he is involved in a religion, after undergoing the first degree, the second degree, and the first portion of the third degree, the chances are better than not that it isnt going to happen during the "raising", or resurrection.
But even if a Christian does realize what it is that is happening, think of his circumstances at the time. Here he is, lying on the floor, surrounded by all these men. At this point, his blindfold has already been removed, and what is he confronted with? Maybe Mr. Johnson, his boss at work, is standing there. Maybe his very best friend is looking down at him. Maybe he is looking at his dad, his grand-dad, his uncle, his brother, standing over him. It would take a tremendous amount of courage on his part to pick himself up off the floor, say to those present, "Hold on, I now realize what is happening here, and because I am a Christian, I will have no part in it"; and then just walk out of the lodge room, leave the premises, and never look back - never come back again. Chances are better than not, you will not see or hear of something like that happening.
Most Masons do not attend Lodge
Maybe we have a partial answer after all. Im not going to try to claim that a delayed discernment happened in every instance. I wont even try to claim that is the answer in most instances. But maybe, just maybe that is the reason in some of the instances. Maybe the discernment was there that night, but what was lacking was the courage or conviction to do something about it at the time. Or maybe the realization came later, after possibly sharing that evenings events with a discerning Christian wife. Maybe in some instances, a man shares with his wife what transpired that night, and when hes finished, he says, "Boy, Ive sure never been through anything like that before." To which she says, "Oh yes, you have. You certainly did go through something like that before. It was the day you were baptized, when your immersion was symbolic of death, burial and resurrection. You have been baptized by the lodge - into what, I can only guess at - but you have been baptized into Freemasonry."
In any event, he sends his dues money in every year, but just sort of drops out of sight. Unfortunately, just "dropping out of sight" is not an acceptable substitute for repentance, for praying for forgiveness, for asking Jesus Christ to come back into you life as your Lord and Savior, and for officially leaving the false religion of Freemasonry.
I will now solidify what I have had to say about the Hiramic Legend so far, regarding its being nothing more than a fairy tale, with evidence to support my claims.
The Grand Lodge of the State of Nevada distributes a booklet entitled, The Lodge System of Masonic Education. On page 4 of the section titled, The Master Mason Degree, we find this:
The temple is spiritual, not physical
Additionally we find this, on page 58 of the Heirloom Masonic Bible, previously quoted from:
From the Officers Manual of Lodge Organization and Operation, from the Grand Lodge of Nevada, page 100:
With these statements, we not only establish the fact that the Hiramic Legend of the third degree - or Master Mason degree, second section - is a fairy tale; but we also see how, by veiled allegory and symbolism, the construction of the "temple", if you will, is not in reference to the building of King Solomons Temple at all, but rather, as was previously quoted:
The entire Hiramic Legend, including the involvement of the candidate, has now been taken from a material, historical level, to some sort of a pseudo-spiritual level. A quantum leap - a quantum leap, indeed - for something calling itself a fraternity, isnt it? Indeed it is. But NOT for a religious faith. And well get to that statement in a moment.
But for now, lets look at a term we hear so much of, pertaining to the Master Mason degree. In my own testimony I have stated I was "raised" to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. What exactly does this term "raised" mean?
Now, I want you to remember this notation, "See Resurrection". It is inserted in this item in such a way as to indicate, "Go to the term "resurrection" for the connection to this term, "raised". Were coming back to this later.
I would like to add here: While coming up short of actually endorsing the Masonic Bible this quote and others, come from, the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of the State of Iowa does say, " Heirloom Bible would never knowingly publish information in their Bible that was not accurate." This comes from a letter I received from the man, and I have no reason whatever to question his statement. As a matter of fact, I would carry an application of this statement even further. I do not believe the Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Company would knowingly distribute a Masonic Bible, or any other Masonic publication, for that matter, that was not deemed by Freemasonry to be accurate.
Nor do I believe the Grand Lodge of Nevada would permit any of its constituent blue lodges to distribute such a publication to their members, knowing it to be in error, and that is how I got my copy. It was a tradition at Vegas Lodge No. 32 that on the evening a candidate was "raised", he was presented with a copy of the Heirloom Masonic Bible, as a gift from the lodge.
And also, before going to any official Grand Lodge publications for statements on this subject, I wish to quote from the Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry by Albert G. Mackey, and I do so, at this time, for a reason.
When you attempt to quote passages to Masons, from the writings of highly recommended Masonic writers, such as Albert G. Mackey, Albert Pike, Henry Wilson Coil, and others, regarding their statement that Freemasonry is, indeed, a religion, for example, the lock-step response almost always seems to be, "None of those writings have been officially recognized by any grand lodges, therefore, any statements from such publications are nothing more than the writers own personal opinions."
All right, lets takes a look at Mr. Mackeys "personal opinion" on this issue, and see how it stacks up in comparison to the statement from the Heirloom Masonic Bible. First, lets go back to the statement that appears in the Heirloom Masonic Bible. Here it is:
Okay now, from Mackeys Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry:
It looks as though the Heirloom Masonic Bible might as well have quoted directly from Mackey;s Encyclopaedia , doesnt it? But we must remember the arguments from the defenders of the faith - Masonic faith, that is - in regards to alleged "personal opinions", right? So, lets see what something a little more official has to say on the subject.
Nevadas The Lodge System of Masonic Education, Master Mason Degree section, page 3:
The only noteworthy difference I see between what was said in the previous publications, and what is stated here, is the official documents addition of the term, "and a Masons faith in immortality." Continuing with this same publications remarks on the matter:
Similarly, we find this statement in Nevadas Officers Manual , page 95, under the heading, "Hiramic Legend":
Translation? There is tremendously more to it than the explanation given to the newly raised Master Mason in the lecture that it is a lesson in courage in trust.
In answer to the question of the significance of the term "Raised", as previously quoted from the Heirloom Masonic Bible, you will recall the notation at the end that simply said, "See Resurrection". Lets take a look at what it has to say about "Resurrection". On that same page 55, one column over, we find this:
Now, that is quite a mouthful for an organization that denies being a religion. We have "essential dogma", "doctrine", something that is even more authoritatively inculcated than any "dogmatic creed" - All in reference to what? "the religious faith of Freemasonry". I told you earlier you would be hearing that phrase again, and there it is.
Enough said on this subject.
We now have two additional areas to consider in regards to the Hiramic Legend: First of all, and this is very important, Its origin; secondly, and equally important, its purpose.
Is Jesus Christ represented in Masonic
Not a word about it in any of their rituals; not a word about it in any of their monitors, and these are the official documents regarded as the sources of all the teachings of Freemasonry, yet you cannot find one single word about the Hiramic Legend having anything whatever to do with any Christian ceremony of a similar nature.
Rather, upon examination of official grand lodge documents, what we DO find, is statements of this nature:
I dont see any mention here of Christianity. Only something called the Ancient Mysteries. And what does Mr. Mackey have to say about the Ancient Mysteries?
Secret Worship?! This is supposed to somehow have something to do with Jesus Christ? This is supposed to somehow have something to do with some sort of Judeo-Christian ceremonies? I dont think so.
Were the baptisms performed by John the Baptist done in secret? How secret do you suppose the Sermon on the Mount was?
No, my friends, they did not learn their secrets from our Lord and Savior - they did not learn their secrecy from any sort of Judeo-Christian practice. They learned their secrecy from the Ancient Mysteries.
Mr. Mackey goes on to say:
Isis, Osiris, Dionysus? Obviously, yes. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Obviously, not. Equally obvious, Freemasonry has a great deal to do with the Ancient Mysteries.
From the Book of Constitutions, Grand Lodge of South Carolina, page 144:
Therein lies its origin - now, what about its purpose?
Officers Manual of Lodge Organization and Operation - Nevada, page 96:
Indeed it does.
And from the Lodge Manual of North Carolina, page 52:
One Grand Lodge jurisdiction says "redemption" - another says "salvation" - leaving us with yet one more word to define:
From the World Book Dictionary:
And finally this, from the Nevada Masonic Monitor, Third Degree - Master Mason, pages 2-3:
Joseph Fort Newton wrote a book titled, The Builders, A story and Study of Freemasonry. It has been called:
This book was originally published in 1914, and most recently was copyrighted and published by the Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Company. On page 9 of Macoys catalog #124, we are told:
Mr. Newton relates to us in his foreword:
In more detail, we find this on page xxi of the section titled, "The Anteroom":
Folks, thats as official as it gets.
And regarding the Hiramic Legend, Mr. Newton tells us this on pages 270-71 of the 1979 edition:
In what can only be considered as an extremely critical statement, Mr. Newton, through The Builders, has been pleading with the Craft since 1914 to PLEASE tell the truth to its initiates!!! To PLEASE, no longer VEIL the truth, but openly REVEAL it, as he says, " as to make the truth unmistakable."
I have been pleading with the Craft for the entire 14 years since I left the lodge to PLEASE, at least be honest with your own membership!!! But so far, this same plea which Mr. Newton first penned in 1914 continues to fall on deaf ears. As far as I am concerned, by the official documents I have referred to, the truth is there to be found, if a member of the Order digs for it, but what do they continue to teach in the lectures?:
To this very day, in the lecture appertaining to the Hiramic Legend, that is still all they are telling you about it. It continues to this day to be "veiled in allegory", as opposed to Mr. Newtons plea, " to make the truth unmistakable."
If it is the intent of the Craft, by its various monitors, to make the truth unmistakable, the Craft has failed miserably in its endeavors. To this day, virtually every single Mason I have ever debated this matter with, either refuses to admit the truth, thereby deliberately lying in a feeble attempt to defend the honor of the lodge - theres an irony for you - or is so totally ignorant of the facts that he doesnt know the truth himself. In either case, the circumstances are deplorable and totally devoid of principals and honor.. Because either the member is lying or the lodge is deliberately lying to the member and he is nothing more than an unknowing pawn.
Please care for those men who are being misled by the lodge. Please love them. Please pray for them. Please talk to them. But do not allow them to corrupt, destroy, or dilute the teachings of a Church of the Living God. The body of Christ is HIS church, not the lodges.
Heed the warnings spoken to the church at Pergamum: "You have there some who hold the teachings of Balaam, " Dont you EVER allow a House of God to become a temple of Baal!
If members of your congregation want to do battle in defense of Freemasonry, and threaten to lay siege upon the offering plate because you choose to not co-exist with the pagan teachings of non-believers, then you should let them walk right out the door and take their checkbooks with them. The apostles did not need Judas 30 pieces of silver to finance their ministries, and neither does this church.
You stand behind that preacher man who has the strength and the courage to stand up to Freemasonry and its false prophets. Dont you ever turn your back on him, because all hes doing is exactly what he is supposed to do - he is standing on the Written Word of God and tending to his flock in accordance with its teachings. And as long as he continues to do so, you back him all the way, because as long as he is standing on Gods Infallible Word, hes going to tell you the truth, and that is the truth that sets you free.
God bless you.