The answer is an emphatic NO, it does not! I had to give the answer right at the start of this article as this rumour is the daftest I have yet heard. This rumour seems to predominantly exist in the Middle East and at this stage it is equally important to note that Freemasonry recognises its members can belong to any of the monotheistic religions, which includes Christian, Muslim and Jewish religions, and any nation in the world.
As Freemasonry evolved from the stonemasons’ guilds of Medieval Europe, the dominant religion of these ancient stonemasons was Christian and they related their craft all the way back to Noah, and then even to Adam. The so called “secrets” of the craft was simply the skills they possessed, which had geometry at its base. The stonemasons privately shared a method of proving their skills in the craft of stonemasonry to each other, basically with a “mason word” and probably a token, or handshake as well. As stonemasons learned their craft they would have used this word and token to prove their skill level, which was twofold, apprentice and fellow of the craft. Ceremonies in the form of catechisms (questions and answers), plus a test of skill required to be passed as a fellow of the craft, were used at these two stages by sharing the appropriate word and/or token.
As Freemasonry evolved from the guild of stonemasons into the fraternity it is today, so the ceremonies also evolved, and as the Christian religion was the predominant religion in Britain and as the story of the building of King Solomon’s Temple depicted the use of very skilled craftsmen, it was chosen as a basis for a more complex ceremony.
In Medieval Europe, bible stories were told through “mystery plays,” first delivered in churches to teach the congregation, then later these stories were taken over by the numerous guilds of the time. Later Morality plays emerged, especially one called “Everyman,” a story of good and evil deeds throughout one’s life, good deeds were needed to ascend to Heaven. So we can only speculate how the new Freemasons created their “Morality Play” ceremonies to teach the wonders of the stonemasonry by symbolising on the tools that these skilled craftsmen used and the way they improved rough stones, turning them into smooth Ashlars using the tools of the trade. The centre of these ritual ceremonies is the gaining of knowledge during life around the miraculous building of such a magnificent temple all those years ago, based on a morality play similar in context to “Everyman.”
I am sure that the reader may now be finding a biblical connection between Freemasonry and the Hebrew tribe of the Old Testament Bible (not to be confused with today’s Israel). The actual Biblical Story is one when the Hebrew Tribe under King David required the skills of Hiram, King of Tyre (then in Phoenicia, now in today’s Lebanon), to assist in the build. Hiram a Phoenician King, and a friend of King David was requested to assist David’s son, Solomon (who built the Temple), as Hiram and his people possessed the skills to build a magnificent Temple and Solomon did not. The Freemasons ritualistic ceremonies morally symbolise on this story as part of the journey through the three degrees in Freemasonry. Please note that Hiram, King of Tyre worshiped the god of Tyre, Melqart, a pagan god but he still sent his best supervisor, and many of his tribe skilled in these arts, to assist in the building of King Solomon’s Temple to the Hebrew God. In the Masonic ceremonies, the Freemasons have named this “best supervisor,” or architect, “Hiram” also.
This evolution of this story into a Masonic ritual fits into the moral heart of Freemasonry, teaching modern Freemasons about brotherly love, charity and truth, as integrity and charity are at the heart of Freemasonry.
This has absolutely no connection with Israel in any way shape or form, the use of the building of King Solomon’s Temple is purely an allegorical and symbolic way to emphasise morality and good citizenship to members of the Craft of Freemasonry, using the skills and friendship of two contrasting nations of the ancient world who came together in friendship to built this magnificent structure. It is believed that this particular Temple of Solomon’s was based on an existing Temple built by Hiram, King of Tyre, to worship the god of Tyre, Malqart.
Freemasonry spreads neither Israeli thoughts nor the thoughts of any other nation on earth. As stated above, Freemasonry admits men and women as its members from every monotheistic religion, and citizens of Israel form part of our fraternity, as do the citizens of almost every nation on earth. Please bear in mind that when Freemasonry evolved in Medieval Britain there was no state of Israel, the land at that time was occupied by the Ottoman Empire.
These articles are written by W Bro Steve Froggatt PPJGD, current Chaplain of Neptune Lodge No 5150 EC. Steve was initiated into Freemasonry in 1986.They do not represent the view of any Grand/Provincial Grand Lodge.
© Copyright 2019 Al-Khabar/Stephen Froggatt all rights reserved