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“Knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God

has been granted to you; but to the rest they are

made known through parables…”

Luke 8:10

In each of the three degrees of Blue Lodge Masonry the candidate acknowledges his obligation not to reveal the manner and method used by Masons to impart knowledge of the hidden mysteries of Freemasonry to anyone who is not entitled to receive them.  Throughout history that “Masonic obligation” has been the source of scathing accusations hurled at the fraternity that it is a dangerous secret society, or in the alternative, that it has heretical secrets known only to its members.   Those accusations have resulted in attempts by non-Masons to marginalize the Craft and attribute devil-worship to its followers.  So-called holy men and kings have even been prompted to hunt down, burn, torture and kill Freemasons.  Yet, if the world had known then what is known today – that Freemasonry conceals nothing that is not wholly available to every man, woman and child – perhaps such ruthlessness would not have occurred.

Writers who have woven Masonic themes into literary works of fiction and non-fiction, while perhaps legitimately speculating upon matters of public interest such as whether or not Jesus married Mary of Magdalene, or that the original Knights Templar discovered the Holy Grail, have contributed to the public fascination with the prospect that Freemasonry continues to conceal something that is extraordinarily valuable to all mankind.  Indeed, something great and glorious is concealed, or hidden by Freemasons, but it has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus, Mary of Magdalene, or the Holy Grail.  And even though that “something” is and always will remain hidden, it is equally available to non-Masons.  Anyone who takes the time to journey down the proper path will discover what is hidden without the need for any Mason to violate his obligation.

During the journey toward discovering the hidden mysteries valued by Freemasons, one inevitably encounters that mystical sect known as the Essenes.  Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, even though much of that information has not yet been made publicly available, a great deal of material about this sect is now in the public domain.  For example, we now understand that the Essenes were of the eclectic sect of philosophers and held Plato in the highest esteem.  They believed that true philosophy, the greatest gift of God to man, was scattered throughout all sects and that it was man’s duty to gather it together and present it as the unified word of the Almighty.

The writings of the Essenes were laced with mysticism, parables, enigmas and sophisticated allegories.  They studied both the esoteric and exoteric meanings of the Holy Writings, which they found in the Old Testament just as the Gnostics found in the New Testament.  Christian writers, as well as allegedly Jesus himself, recognized that all scripture had an inner meaning, as well as an outer truth.

The passage of scripture taken from the Gospel of Luke at the head of this article makes it abundantly clear that the public teachings attributed to Jesus were different from the private teachings he imparted to his inner circle of Apostles.  Even within that inner circle, it is reputed that some received a light not otherwise given to other Apostles.  That light represents what the world now refers to as the hidden mysteries, because it is not freely meted out to those in the outer circle; those who are left to decipher the kingdom of God for themselves from the several allegories, stories and parables set forth in the Holy Writings.

In some intellectual circles, as well as in certain Masonic literature, it is insinuated that Jesus was killed because he improperly divulged the hidden mysteries which he had vowed to conceal and never reveal.  Under that belief, he was not killed merely because he challenged Roman rule, or the religious dogma taught by the Pharisees.  Consequently, the question is frequently asked: did Jesus practice Freemasonry?  The answer depends upon one’s own assessment of the available hard evidence.

Jesus did participate in the baptism of Saint John the Baptist, who is regarded by Masons as a patron of the fraternity.  While he often criticized the Pharisees and Sadducees, Jesus never once mentioned the Essenes, whose doctrines bear a striking resemblance to Jesus’ teachings, as well as to the teachings of Freemasonry.  It is also asserted that at the time of his arrest Jesus was then in the process of conferring a Masonic degree upon a candidate.   “Now a young man followed him and fled wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body.”  Mark 14:50-51.

That particular passage does not appear in any of the other three accepted gospels and no further explanation has been added anywhere in the Holy Writings to help us understand precisely what was going on between Jesus and the anonymous young man at this critical point in Jesus’ life.  Perhaps Freemasons discern a similarity to an aspect of Masonic ritual, perhaps not.  To understand the nature of the hidden mysteries, it is not essential that the question be answered one way, or the other.

The forms and ceremonies used by the Essenes were symbolical, just as they are today in Freemasonry.  According to Philo, they had four degrees; were Jews by birth; and held a greater affection for each other than was true of members of any other sect.  Before there was a Christian religion, they fulfilled the Christian law, “Love one another.”  They despised riches and made certain that no single member had more material goods than any other member, all of which were held in common.  Their piety toward the one living God was without compare, which they ritualized in mysterious ceremonies and initiations about which very little is known.  However, like Freemasonry, it was within the symbolism of those ceremonies that the hidden mysteries could be revealed.

This extraordinarily well disciplined and highly organized sect did not simply appear on the scene at about the time Saint John the Baptist preached than did Freemasonry erupt in 1717 with a fully mechanized ritual.  Passages from the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal that members of the sect wrote about the Pharaoh Akhenaton and monotheism and quite likely practiced forms and ceremonies related to the one living God at a time much earlier than even the patriarch Jacob.  Other passages make clear the fact that the hidden mysteries could only be accessed through specific use of certain arts, parts and points similar to what has been described of the ceremonial practices of the mystical High Priest and King of Salem, Melchizadek.  Owing to the relationship of Saint John the Baptist as a patron of Freemasonry, it is fair to conclude that the Craft bears at least a strong an affinity to the Essenes.

When the relationship of the Essenes to Freemasonry is so understood, it is also easier to understand why the manner, sequence and method of Masonic ritual is only explained to those who are initiated into the fraternity.  In other words, while the hidden mysteries are not held private, the manner Masons employ to know and study them is something that can only be learned by a member of the Craft.  But what are those hidden mysteries? Why should any man, woman, or child care to know and understand them?  The best way to answer both of those questions is to begin with an explanation of what it takes for any person to fully comprehend the Mysteries.

It is not enough for a person to simply become God-intoxicated.  As long as the mind remains disorderly, ignorant and ill-disciplined, any effort to comprehend the hidden mysteries will be in vain.  Because of the necessity for a higher level of consciousness to enable a more sophisticated synthesis of all God has made available for man to study, Freemasonry has adopted the system of Pythagoras, whom Masonic writers have described as having himself been a Mason.  Under that system grammar, rhetoric and logic are taught to cultivate and improve the mind.  Mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy are also inculcated and a system of symbols is derived therefrom.  This outline for the cultivation of intellectual insight should be strictly followed.

However, the cultivation of intellectual insight is not enough.  There remains a step to be taken during which the cautionary scripture tale about the Tower of Babel should be kept in mind.  Man builds his intellectual powers at the hands of human workmen until he reaches the top story of that tower.  Here, communion with the Supreme Architect of the Universe takes over, for no man can peer behind the veil concealing the hidden mysteries unless permitted to do so by God.  Thus the steps for any person to take include educating the mind about all that God has created and then clearing the mind for direct instructions from the Deity through meditative prayer, as opposed to petitioning prayer.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you find; knock, and the door to all understanding of the hidden mysteries will be opened for you.  You simply need to know how to ask, where to seek and the manner in which you are expected to knock.