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How many times have you said to yourself, I am my own worst enemy? Considering the fact that the Holy Land is an area of the world where digging has taken place for centuries, and thousands of artifacts have been unearthed attesting to the existence and chronicling the events of early, even prehis- toric cultures in the area, is it not almost inconceivable that such celebrated kingdoms and such powerful world rulers such as David and Solomon could remain so completely invisible to the archaeological record? For nine years after their formation, the Pauvres Chevaliers du Temple initiated no new members and remained doing something at the temple site. If the spirits are merely portions of my brain or mind why on earth would I have a section dedicated to fetching horses or attaining prelacies or lighting seeming Candles upon the Graves of the Dead? Could it be just a fable?
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The Ultimate Guide To Performing Magick And Experiencing Godlike Power I'll show you the exact steps and specific pathworkings to help you be more successful with ritual magick and your Ascent to Godhood - and you don't need special genetics or fancy initiations to do it They live in Costa Mesa, California and have one son.
DuQuette has written a number of successful books on topics in the Western mystical tradition including: Freemasonry , Tarot , Qabalah , ceremonial magick , the Enochian magick of Dr. John Dee , and Goetic spirit evocation. He is perhaps best known as "an author who injects humor into the serious subjects of magick and the occult.
Many of DuQuette's books have been dedicated to analyzing and exploring the works of Aleister Crowley — , an English occultist, author, poet and philosopher. DuQuette occasionally appears on radio and television as a guest expert on subjects involving the occult. Since DuQuette has been a National and International governing officer of Ordo Templi Orientis , a religious and fraternal organization founded in the early part of the 20th century.
Since he has been O. O  and the longest living member of the O. O after the death of Phyllis Seckler. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American writer, lecturer, musician, and occultist. Long Beach, California , U. Author of Books On Magick and Mysticism".
August 1, Archived from the original on 12 May In order to complete this undertaking, the Bible tells us that Solomon pressed into service thirty thousand 12 1 Kings 4, and 1 Kings 9, , 2 Chronicles 9, The temple was completed in a little over seven years. Solomon died after reigning over Israel for 40 years.
Throughout it all he succeeded in keeping the country united. After his death, however, a string of mostly despicable kings immediately set to work to make a mess of things. The nation split up into Judah in the south where Jerusalem and the temple were located , and Israel in the north. The Temple stood in its pristine condition for only thirty-three years. Bible scholars reckon, however, that it remained intact if in decay for an additional three hun- dred seventy-four years before being completely destroyed by the armies of King Nebuchanezzar of Babylon around BCE.
Nebuchanezzar also ordered that the fittest members of the Hebrew nobility be taken captive and brought back to Babylon to serve in his palace and receive Babylonian educations. The moral lessons of Masonry draw heavily from these tales. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the heart and soul of Masonry is found in the sec- tions of the Bible that tell the story of King Solomon, and the fate of the magnificent Temple of God. The Bible, however, tells us precious little about Solomon the magician.
For these accounts we must look to the traditions and literature of Judaism and Islam, and from the Alf Laylah wa Laylah, a true magical text better known to us as A Thousand and One Arabian Nights. Richard F. Burton, translator, Bennett Cerf, editor, NY: Modern Library, reprint edition, And this Wazir brought me against my will and led me in bonds to him. When Solomon saw me, he took refuge with Allah and bade me embrace the True Faith and obey his behests. But I refused, so, sending for this cucurbit, he shut me up therein and stopped it over with lead, whereon he impressed the Most High Name, and gave his orders to the Jann, who carried me off and cast me into the midmost of the ocean.
Judaism and Islam seem to meld into a magical mist of fable and fantasy in the person of Solomon. He is at once a Hebrew king, a Prophet of Allah, and an audacious oriental wizard. A recurring theme in these tales is the assertion that Solomon enlisted the services of genii and other maleficent spirits to construct the Temple of God. To them devils, genii, and demons were the spirit representatives of the blind forces of nature that create and destroy everything in the universe.
But in the masterful hands of a skilled operator the same fearful tools can be used for righteous and constructive purposes - including the erection of the House of God.
Recall how in First Kings we are told that in order to build the Temple, Solomon employed seventy thousand men to bear burdens, and eighty thousand hewers of stone in the mountain, and three thousand overseers of the work? The legendary version is a little more interesting.
Sura 38 verses , Sura 27 verses 38 to So he began to build the Temple Also the devils made highly-polished cemented blocks of marble. The Shamir had the power to silently cut through solid stone with astounding speed and precision.
Tom Stacey Ltd. But before we discuss that subject further, we need to take a brief detour through space and time: The place is the lodge room of Lebanon Lodge No. The year is CE. Created in by Frank S. Land, a Kansas City businessman and high-degree Freemason, DeMolay is a Masonic organization for young men between the ages of twelve and twenty-one. At first I thought the whole thing a little corny and would have much preferred spending my time practicing my guitar and misbehaving.
There were, how- ever, certain elements of the experience that appealed to me very much. After meetings, when the rest of the boys were in the social hall enjoying refreshments, I would sit alone in the semidarkness of the temple and try to imagine the secret goings on of grown-up Masons. The lodge room felt more sacred than church.
It was rectangular and smelled like old wood and cigars. There were big thrones positioned in the east, south, and west, and two ornate pillars with globes on their capitals flanked the double doors in the west.
There was an altar in the middle of the floor. It seemed like everything - every chair, every podium, every mounted symbol knew its place and was perfectly situated where it belonged. Is this where the Royal Secret is revealed? One evening after our Chapter meeting, I remained in the lodge room to drink in the atmosphere and daydream about rituals. That night I chose to sit in the big throne in the south. The top of the podium was covered by a square of black marble.
For some reason I felt drawn to rest my hands on the marble and feel its cool heaviness. To my surprise it moved a little. I stood up and discovered that it was secured to the top of the podium only at one corner and the whole piece could be moved aside revealing a secret compartment under the marble top.
My heart felt like it was going to explode as I quickly looked around to make sure I was alone in the lodge room. Then, I looked inside. There, about six inches deep inside, rested a little blue book. I carefully picked it up. There was nothing written on the cover. I opted not to fearing in the back of my mind that he might have to kill me.
The ritual is really a play staged in the Chapter room by the boys themselves. In a way, the ceremony is a diluted preview of elements of several degrees of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry that treat on the same subject. As presented, the story is a classic example of good versus evil - the noble Grand Master of a band of virtuous Knights resisting an envious and greedy King of France and a corrupt and superstitious Pope.
Even though in this case evil temporarily triumphs DeMolay is executed and his Order apparently destroyed , the moral lessons are clear. Our hero remains true to his conscience and loyal to his comrades throughout the ordeals of false accusations, tor- ture, an unjust trial, and finally the stake.
I have to admit I was pretty awed by the whole thing. In my adolescent eyes Jacques DeMolay seemed like a pretty cool guy, and his death was an object lesson in virtue and loyalty - qualities I hoped I would always be able to emulate. In this more informal setting we learned a handful of curious footnotes to the DeMolay story.
Our Dad obviously enjoyed this part of the evening, and delivered his talk extempore. First he told us that some Masonic historians believe that Masonry was started by former Knights Templars who fled to Scotland when the Order was outlawed.
With a most endearing twinkle in his eye he dramatically hinted that secrets of the Templars are still hidden in the symbols and rituals of Masonry. Fie then went on to tell a tale that sounded as if it came right out of a horror movie.
It seems that as the coals and flames were roasting him alive, the doomed DeMolay uttered a prophetic curse for all to hear. Fie vowed that within one year he would from beyond the grave or wherever ashes go summon the souls of King Philip and Pope Clement to stand with him before the bar of heaven.
There DeMolay would ask God to judge who was guilty in this matter. And it came to pass that less than a year after that awful utterance the King and Pope did indeed join the martyred Grandmaster in the afterlife. I was very impressed! The Temple Mount in Jerusalem as it would have appeared during the time of the Crusades. Whether accurate or not, it is certainly true that these stories were widely circulated almost immediately 21 Umberto Eco.
Ballantine Books; Reprint edi- tion, For the better part of two centuries Masonic scholars have passionately debated what, if anything, the Knights Templars have to do with Freemasonry There is certainly no hard evidence or documents we can refer to that informs us in so many words that on such-and-such a date the Knights Templar went underground and set up a secret benevolent society that employs building tools as esoteric symbols and Bible stories as moral lessons.
Flowever, many influential Masons of the past, especially those in eighteenth century France , 22 enthusiastically embraced the Templars as their own predecessors. Still, supporters of an historic Templar-Mason con- nection can only point to the most generic elements within the rituals and liturgies of the Craft that demonstrate at most a harmony of anticlerical goals and attitudes shared by the two organizations.
Flowever, in the philosophical arena where traditional history is more important than history his- tory this in-and-of itself can have profound significance.
The charges were many but the ones that most caught my attention were those that alleged that: For reasons that no historian can properly explain, the Patriarch immediately accepted their vows and the King summarily surrendered the area to the knights.
This area of Mount Moriah had a rich legendary past that reached deep into Semitic mythology. It was said that an exposed boulder at the summit of the mount first issued at the dawn of time from the mouth of the mythical serpent Tahum, and would serve as the portal connecting the upper world and the infernal regions. It is also where tradition informs us Abraham built an altar of stones upon which he prepared his son Isaac for sacrifice.
From that altar Jacob the son of Isaac took a stone to be his pillow as he slept and dreamed of a ladder reaching to heaven. Upon awaking from his vision, Jacob anointed the stone with oil and it supposedly sank into the ground to form the founda- tion of what would be the three great Jewish Temples: The knights called themselves Pauvres Chevaliers du Temple - Poor Knights of the Temple, or the Knights Templar, and it appears they traveled to Jerusalem for the singular purpose of establishing the order and securing the Temple Mount as their headquarters.
It is highly unlikely, however, that this was truly their intention - at least not at first. In fact, it is doubtful the nine Pauvres Chevaliers du Temple did any soldiering at all for the first nine years, during which time it appears they kept to themselves and remained at the site of the Temple Mount. Much as many of us would like to have solid archeological evidence to support these speculations, there appears to be none.
What, if anything in particular, they might have been looking for we can only guess, but conspiracy enthu- siasts and modern novelists certainly think they found or learned something - something very important - something that in a few short years drew to them the goodwill and def- erence of the Church of Rome and the princes of Europe. Still, it is frequently hard to separate fact from legend. Curiously, for our purposes, legend is as important and relevant as fact, for religious and political movements are shaped by what people believe to be true rather than what may actually be factual.
I implore the reader to keep this fact firmly in mind as we delve deeper into this subject. For nine years after their formation, the Pauvres Chevaliers du Temple initiated no new members and remained doing something at the temple site.
The Abbot was no ordinary churchman. He was the senior advisor to Pope Honarius II and the most brilliant and charismatic figure in twelfth century Christendom.
We know him today as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Whatever it was he learned from his uncle Andre, Bernard immediately threw his undiluted energies and influence behind the Templars. Oddly enough, the Rule of Order that Bernard composed con- tained no reference whatsoever to protecting pilgrims.
What it did do was unite the two most powerful forces in the Western world; the Church of Rome and the ruthless brutality of the feudal warrior. The Knights Templar were to become the first truly disciplined army since the Roman legionnaires - fighting men who lived like monks - Christian soldiers whose bloody occupation did not jeopardize their prospects of going to heaven because they had a license to kill evil.
Unlike other knights who owed allegiance to a specific king, duke, baron, or nobleman, the Templars were to be holy warriors answerable only to the Pope. They were not, however, to be a Papal army. Indeed, from the very beginning of their existence and for the next two hundred years, Popes treated the Knights Templar as if they were too hot to handle.
They were allowed freedoms and privileges enjoyed by no other body in Christendom. They had their own priests and confessors. They were allowed to build their own, uniquely-styled churches.
They were freed from countless other Papal restrictions and super- visions. In , before returning to Jerusalem, Hughes de Payen a relative by marriage to the St Clairs of Rosslyn Chapel fame travelled to Scotland and paid a visit to his in-laws.
Almost overnight a new class of citizen was intro- duced into the feudal system of the world - a new kind of man - a free man, unencumbered by the restrictions of Church and state - a free man who needed no pass from bishop or king or baron or lord or magistrate to move as he will on the face of the earth, from town to town, province to province, country to country This freedom of movement is one of the privileges of a modern Mason as well, and is echoed in the Masonic ritual.
They invented checking. They maintained an army of fierce and highly-trained soldiers and a fleet of sailing ships. Kings borrowed money from them, and even though they were technically answerable to Papal authority for two hundred years popes let them do whatever they wanted. Some speculate they even had something on the Saracens.
Were the Templars blackmailing the world, or were they simply a dynamic idea whose time had come? If they did have something what could it possibly have been? What secret could have Hughes de Payen and Andre de Montbard shared with the future Saint Bernard and the St Clair fam- ily that would have been so earthshaking as to reward the Templars with a blank check from the masters of their world?
Was this object, this piece of information, this trea- sure destroyed with them? Was the secret lost?
These questions have been the subject of specula- tion for seven hundred years. In the last few years several best-selling books have theorized the treasure might be lost gospels or something relating to Jesus and the early history of the Church; perhaps documents or artifacts proving that Jesus had a twin brother, or that he was married and had children.
Some believe the Templars found the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant, or the mummified head of John the Baptist, or the demonstrably imresurrected body of Jesus Christ himself.
Others more recently have even speculated they found the golden tablets of Maroni that would eventu- ally find their way to the New World to be discovered by Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet. A popular motion pic- ture suggests it was a good old-fashioned treasure of ancient artifacts, gold and silver. Whatever the nature of the secret, speculation that it was not lost with the seemingly complete destruction of the Templars is fueled to a white heat when we learn that as the tide turned on Wednesday, October 11, just two days prior to the universal arrest of the Templars a fleet of Templar ships quietly slipped from the harbor at La Rochelle and were never seen again.
The mystery of what if anything the Templars found has driven men mad for nearly a thousand years. I am not exaggerating. For some individuals the Templar myth has become an all-consuming and unhealthy obsession, and their wild and paranoid public conjectures continue to bring unfair scorn and ridicule upon the efforts of legitimate scholars and researchers. The Lunatic is all idee fixe , and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.
In writing the life of King Solomon from a Masonic point of view, it is impossible to omit a reference to the legends which have been preserved in the Masonic system. But the writer, who, with this pre- liminary notice, embodies them in his sketch of the career of the wise King of Israel, is by no means to be held responsible for a belief in their authenticity.
For the greater part of the last two millennia Western civilization has relied upon the Bible as its primary source 25 Op cit. From its venerable pages unfold the human story from the creation of heaven and earth to the political intrigues of the Roman Empire.
It was the first book printed in the s by the new process of move- able type, and for the next few centuries the vast majority of Europeans who learned to read and write did so for no other purpose than to study the Bible. It was more than a book. It was the book.
It occurred to very few of our literate and newly-literate ancestors to question the accuracy of the Bible or God forbid to challenge its authority. It was a universally accepted fact that everything written in the Bible was literally true - the unerring Word of God. Conversely, anything not found in the Bible was considered equally untrue. Nowhere, for instance, do we learn in the Bible that the earth revolves around the sun, or that other planets are worlds that have moons that revolve around them.
For the better part of what we consider the modern era, the Bible said it. We believed it. That settled it! That may be a perfectly admirable position for a religious devotee to take toward a spiritual document.
It is not, however, a realistic attitude for the serious student of history. What records have been discovered and pre- served of an empire that stretched from the Euphrates to Egypt? What great museums exhibit the helmets, the armor, the swords and chariots of the mas- sive army that conquered the Philistines, the Assyrians and the Egyptians?
Where can we examine the artistry of the sacred vessels of the temple? What archaeologist has uncov- ered the tomb of David or Solomon, or a tablet or inscrip- tion bearing either of their names or the names of any of their kin or colleagues outlined so explicitly in the Bible? No mention of the name of David 27 or Solomon has ever been found in the mountains of surviving records kept by the Egyptians or the Assyrians, or those of any other neighboring nations who were alleg- edly defeated in battle and for years paid massive tribute to Solomon; no artifacts large or small from a mighty Israelite 27 Recently, after receiving much media attention, a tablet allegedly created by King Hazael of Aram-Damascus containing reference to the king of the House of David was proven to be a forgery and a hoax.
The so-called discoverer was the same criminal who was arrested for forging an inscription bearing the name of Jesus on a first century ossuary. Most conspicuously absent are any records whatso- ever of seven years of taxes and labor levies for what the Bible suggests should exist for , workmen conscripted locally and from foreign countries - documents which most certainly should be found in abundance among existing con- temporary records.
Considering the fact that the Holy Land is an area of the world where digging has taken place for centuries, and thousands of artifacts have been unearthed attesting to the existence and chronicling the events of early, even prehis- toric cultures in the area, is it not almost inconceivable that such celebrated kingdoms and such powerful world rulers such as David and Solomon could remain so completely invisible to the archaeological record?
I realize that for some readers this may sound uncomfortably like heresy. I believe it is certainly possible that evidence may someday be found that supports these particular biblical accounts. Any number of discoveries could have led them to conclude that biblical history was at the very best, unreli- able.
Perhaps their excavations demonstrated that a founda- tion for such an edifice could not have possibly existed at or near that location; perhaps they found tablets, inscriptions or other records that proved incontrovertibly the real history of the region - it could have been a thousand different items, artifacts, documents, or bits of information. Like a literary keystone placed squarely in the middle of the chronology of the Judeo-Christian biblical narrative, the story of David and Solomon links and sup- ports the narratives of both the Old and New Testaments.
If this keystone is removed, not only does the historic integ- rity of much of the Old Testament collapse, but a major facet of the credentials of New Testament Jesus is also radically altered.
Removing this keystone would also be unsettling for pious Moslems who, despite their differences, considered themselves to be along with Jews and Christians People of the Book.
What would happen to Islamic traditions that also presumed to reach that far back into biblical history? In the twelfth century such faith-crushing revela- tions would have threatened to vaporize the authority of the Church and reduce to ashes the concept of the divine right of kings that had been the foundation of the social order in Europe and the West for a thousand years. It would have turned the world upside down. It would have been the most dangerous secret in the world.
First of all, in the twelfth century there were very few actual Bibles as we think of them today in existence. There were very few people able to read a Bible, and even fewer able to appreciate what the Bible was or understand what it was not. For most Europeans it was the Church, not the Bible, that dictated the tenets of their faith. If the early Templars believed they possessed such potentially earth-shaking information it would have put them in a very sticky predicament.
After all, to whom could they threaten to reveal the secret? Who besides a handful of churchmen and nobles were even capable of appreciat- ing information that carried such titanic implications?
There were no newspapers, no radio or television, no books at least not any that most Europeans could read , no investigative reporters. The Church enjoyed a monopoly on European education, literacy, and thought - it controlled his- tory While it appears obvious the Church was intimidated by whatever the Templars had, it would have been futile to confront this omnipotent establishment directly.
This would have put the early Templars in a position of perpetual danger. The early Templars would have had little choice but to play their cards very close to the vest - little choice but to bide their time, build their strength, and seek out others in the Holy Land who also knew the truth - others whose beliefs made them also outcasts of orthodoxy - others who knew how to survive - others like the Ishmaelite Order of the Assassins who had already created their own degree- structured secret society to protect themselves and their interests.
The Templars would stay in Palestine and learn from the natives - the remnants of the Jewish esoteric cults, early Christians, and the mystic heretics of Islam. In short order they would become the most Easternized Westerners in the world - men who saw the bigger picture of life and culture - men who dreamed greater dreams than those of their fellow Europeans - men who tasted the forbidden fruit of knowledge - their eyes were opened and they became as gods.
Gustave Do re's David Punishing the Ammonites. Could it be just a fable?
The Bible has become the most popular book in the world. Today it is universally revered by the faithful as the inerrant Word of God.
It occurs to very few of us to question either its holiness or its authenticity. On the surface, Masonry appears to be vigorously at odds with this worldview After all, the Bible is very impor- tant to Masonry. I say in most cases because not all Masons are Christians or Jews. Indeed, as we learned earlier, candidates for Masonic initiation are not asked to identify themselves as members of any particular faith and need only profess a belief in a Supreme Being and some form of afterlife.
At their initiations these candidates are obligated upon whatever holy book they revere as their own Volume of the Sacred Law. Obviously, there appears to be a conflict of tradi- tions here. A Mason is to regard the Volume of the Sacred Law as the great light in his profession, and the unerring standard of truth and justice. He is counseled to regulate his actions by the divine precepts it contains.
They do not, however, suggest that a Mason is in any way obligated to accept the Volume of the Sacred Law as an objective history book. Moreover, it has been my observation that Masonic lectures that employ readings from the Bible or make allusions to Bible stories are entirely self-referential to lessons of Masonry and com- pletely free from sectarian doctrines and interpretations. There is something else at work here, something that struck me like a setting maul to the head the evening I was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.
Some of it is taken directly from the Bible and tells the story of King David of Israel, and of his son, Solomon, who with the aid of his neighbor King Hiram of Tyre and the master builder, Hiram Abiff, built the magnificent Temple of God. Most of it, however, concerns a patently wow-biblical story - a dramatic myth unique to Masonry.
Hiram, of course, refused and was murdered. Later they removed it and reburied it elsewhere. Eventually, the villains were apprehended and brought before King Solomon where they confessed and were summarily executed. Solomon and King Hiram of Tyre proceeded to locate the grave, raise the body and bring it back to Jerusalem to be finally interred beneath the Holy of Holies of the Temple.
However, it is a story that is found nowhere in the Bible, and certainly not believable from an historic point of view. An unclean dead body interred inside Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple? I think 29 The freedom of unhindered travel would become one of the unique privileges of both the Knight Templars, and, the cathedral-building medieval masons.
For others who meditate upon a possible Masonic-Templar connection the ceremony also suggests, in a not-so-subtle way, that perhaps something was buried beneath the Holy of Holies of the Temple - not the fictional Temple of Solomon, but the very real ruins of the first century BCE Temple of Herod the Great. You might want to dig into it. The question few of us ask, however, is when do 30 Rosslyn Chapel was built in the middle of the fifteenth century by Sir William St Clair, the Earl of Orkney and prominent descendant of Hughes de Payen, one of the original nine Knights Templar.
The answer is obvious. Masons need light when they dig, when they exca- vate, when they explore, when they seek out and bring to light those things hidden beneath the surface. A few pages back we learned what we find when we dig beneath the surface of the story of King Solomon and the building of his temple. It is the tale of the capture and reloca- tion of the children of Israel to Babylon, and their return to Jerusalem after seventy years to rebuild Jerusalem and the so-called Second Temple.
First we need to try to determine exactly where the Bible narrative actually starts to intersect with objective, ver- ifiable history. What are the historic roots of Judaism and subsequently Christianity, and Islam? Modern research- ers have some startling answers to these questions.
If the Knights Templar had reason to draw the same conclusions, they were indeed custodians of the most dangerous secret in the world.
There is little debate between secular historians and Bible scholars concerning the existence and vitality of Judaism as practiced in Palestine during the first century BCE through most of the first century CE. Foremost among these texts are five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy the Pentateuch , books that through their narrative relate the history of the universe, humankind and the children of Israel.
Tradition holds that the Pentateuch was written by Moses himself around to BCE when many Bible scholars compute the dates for the exodus from Egypt and that his five books were part of the mysterious contents of the powerful and dangerous Ark of the Covenant. Genesis, begins with the creation story of the world and humankind.
Joseph then, in an act of gracious magnanimity, brings Israel, his father, and his entire family the children of Israel 31 to the land of the Pharaoh to escape a terrible famine. For a while things are wonderful. In a ruthless pogrom, a new Pharaoh who never knew Joseph orders the first-born Elebrew males to be slain.
She finds the baby and raises it as her own. Moses like Joseph many years earlier becomes a prince of Egypt. Ele discovers his true identity, kills an Egyptian, is banished to the wilderness, has a close encounter with God, and is given magical powers that bring plagues and curses upon Egypt including the deaths of all the Egyptian first-born males.
Moses is eventually allowed to take the children of Israel out of Egypt. During this time he receives the Ten Commandments, builds the Ark of the Covenant and a portable Tabernacle to put it in , puts to death a number of wrong-thinking members of the congregation, writes his memoirs the Pentateuch , codifies laws and ordinances, and institutes the forms and customs of sacrificial worship that must be observed by the people in order to please God.
Finally, after a generation of nomadic existence, Moses shows the children of Israel where God wants them to slaughter the natives and settle down - more or less the area generically known as Palestine. The Book of Joshua follows the Pentateuch and continues the adventures of the children of Israel now identified as a loose confederation of twelve tribes as they conquer and settle the promised land , but it is the five books of Moses that first define Jewish identity as a people, a culture, and a religious entity.
Saul was succeeded by David, then Solomon, then a string of largely despicable minor kings who would disunite the nation until it fell prey to a series of conquests. The worst of these conquests and dispersals was delivered by Nebuchanezzar whose armies destroyed the Temple of Solomon and took the residents of Judah into bondage in Babylon. Only in this case, the exodus is from Babylon. Here we learn that after seventy years of captivity, the chil- dren of Israel were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of their God and dwell once again in their own land.
Unfortunately, after only two generations the residents of Palestine had no idea who these returnees were. They resented them as invaders and foreign occupiers. The Prophet Nehemiah and the highly influential scribe, Ezra, appear to have been instrumental in arranging the return of the children of Israel to Palestine.
They insisted that it was vitally important that the temple be rebuilt, so as to reestablish their cultural identity in the region. According to both Bible and Masonic traditions, excavators and work- men had to work with a shovel in one hand and a sword in the other to fight off the disgruntled locals whose neighborly requests to be a part of the building project had been rudely rejected by the returnees.
This event is the central theme to the Royal Arch Degree of York Rite Masonry where a ritual officer portraying the workman is lowered by a rope into the dark chamber, retrieves the scroll and delivers the exciting news: I was unable to read its contents. I therefore gave another pre- concerted signal, and was drawn out of the vault, bringing the scroll with me.
He caused all those who had returned from Babylon to be assembled before him and announced that the lost Book of the Law had been rediscov- ered. He then proceeded to read aloud for all to hear the five books of Moses. They hear for the first time who they are and where they came from.
They hear for the first time the story of Joseph and their bondage in Egypt - of Moses and their exodus - a story each and every one of them can identify with because they have just come out of bondage in Babylon. The new Temple was built, a particular tribe Levi was chosen from among them to be the priest class, the Laws of Moses were instituted and enforced, the sacrifices, practices, traditions of the old religion were resumed, and the people regained their spiritual identity.
Ironically, this most dramatic and poignant bibli- cal scene is rarely the subject of sermons and never to my knowledge, the subject of motion pictures. Masonry, on the other hand, makes her members think about it a lot. Prior to this, 35 however, there is silence concerning the children of Israel. Thomas L. Thompson, Professor of Old Testament, 33 Genesis The patriarchs of Genesis were not histori- cal. In history, neither Jerusalem nor Judah ever shared an identity with Israel before the rule of the Hasmoneans in the Hellenistic period.
MJF Books, Oxford University Press, And the answer is simple.
Many secular scholars agree generally upon the sixth century date but also suggest that same author s actually penned the Pentateuch, and at the very least had a hand in compiling and editing the books of Chronicles, Kings and several other books of the Old Testament.
There are literally hundreds of complex and convo- luted theories of exactly who put pen to paper to create the books of the Old Testament, but most seem to dovetail in a greater or lesser degree, to the person or persons known in the Bible as Ezra.
Furthermore, there is almost univer- sal agreement that the works cannot be traced any further back in time than the sixth century BCE. Prior to this the historical and archaeological fingerprint of a Hebrew people united by a single religion occupying a nation with its headquarters in Jerusalem is non-existent. Indeed, accord- ing to Norman F. Nevertheless, the unthinkable appears to be true. The kingdoms of David and Solomon are fable, not his- tory.
The idea of twelve distinct tribes of the children of Israel with a past reaching back to the thirteenth century BCE was likely an ingenious concept fabricated in the sixth century BCE 39 or later to provide a single cultural and religious identity to the descendants of a diverse assortment 38 Norman F. Harper Perennial, Gustave Dore's A Friendly Tournament. The Crusaders and the infidels witness two horsemen sparring in a friendly duel. This revelation is indeed earthshaking, and not every- one is capable of absorbing such a blow.
It would, after all, lead one to speculate upon the unthinkable possibility that a good percentage of the wars, the genocides, the hatreds and feuds that have cursed Western civilization for the last three thousand years have been and continue to be tragic argu- ments that began over nothing.
It takes the mature pragma- tism of a true spiritual grownup to even speculate on the implications of such matters. The holiness - or the spiritual integrity of these documents - is not diminished in any way by their lack of historic reliability.
Ask any Kabbalist. Whoever wrote Genesis not only gathered and synthesized the creation myths of a handful of Semitic traditions, he or she did so with the skill of an illuminated mathematician and the insight of a poetic genius. Whoever wrote Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon was a passionately devotional saint.
These works will forever offer real spiritual treasures to the sincere devotee, but to insist that they are also history is to invite 82 LON MILO DUQUETTE their misuse by social and political entities who are always ready to engender and perpetuate fear and hatred between peoples and cultures for their own interests. For me it is clear that Masonry, either by design, acci- dent, or synchronicity, quietly affords her sons the opportu- nity to become, as it were, spiritual grownups - good men made better by their work in the Craft - men whose concept of God is big enough to take a hit or two.
Admittedly, this new view of the Old Testament is a pretty big hit. But the majority of Masons are Christians. We might now ask, how do Masonic ideals square with the New Testament? In the second Degree of Masonry, the Senior Deacon in his magnificent Middle Chamber lecture deliv- ers what might be viewed as a hit to a fundamental doctrine of Christianity. What positive and encour- aging words for a good man to hear at the beginning of his travels to become a better man.
The Apostle Paul would have violently disagreed. And I believe it is highly likely the Knights Templar believed they had every reason to violently disagree with Paul. It has served us well, this myth of Christ. History informs us that throughout the twelfth century the Templars were fierce and formidable warriors who time and time again distinguished themselves in battle against the Saracen forces.
It is equally clear that during the years of occupation and eventual decay of the European presence in the Holy Land the Templars enjoyed from time to time a diplomatic if not patently cooperative relation- ship with the Moslem locals, and because of the ease by which the Templars acclimated themselves to their oriental environment, rumors circulated of a secret alliance.