Name of Deity

Something which greatly (and - it often seems - irrationally) upsets some folks about Freemasonry is their presumption that the organization has given a name to God - something which their interpretation of their 'only true and correct' version of the Bible precludes. In another variation, the name Freemasonry has 'given' is actually that of a God of the Baal religion.

Most of the time, anti-Masons will reference the Royal Arch Degree realizing that only a very, very few Masons actually have a copy of the ritual for that organization. The Royal Arch is one of the degrees that MAY be taken AFTER one becomes a Master Mason. There is no requirement to join and, in fact, only about 8-10% of the Masons in the United States choose to do so. While some will take aggressive steps to avoid, for example, being involved with ANY organization that might have even the slightest connection with something they believe to be (rightly or wrongly) offensive, most persons do not.

But the reality is that NO ONE can produce a copy of this supposedly horrific part of the ritual that they cite. They can scare everyone into thinking that there's something amiss but, in reality, it's simply hearsay - and it's passed regularly from one anti-Mason to another, amplified by the internet. Have YOU got the ritual in which this supposedly appears? GREAT! Send along a copy AND cite the source, please.

Below is an admittedly lengthy explanation, direct from Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia. (Religion, p. 515-6) - Oh, and you'll note that this refers to the SCOTTISH RITE rather than the Royal Arch Degree. Do you suppose there's a reason that anti-Masons have made this jump to another 'branch' of Freemasonry, one that's FAR smaller than the Scottish Rite and one where rituals are much harder to find? We kinda think so....

From Coil's:

    "Ancient philosophers, rabbis, and religionists spent their lives in speculating about the nature and name of Deity, whereas a few hours of reflection ought to have convinced them that the Infinite could be neither imagined, defined, nor denominated by any finite mind, and hat any humanly formulated name could do no more than besmudge the Infinite Perfection and demean the Unapproachable Glory. While some were engaged in the fruitless task of searching for something that could not be tested and proved in any event, others were equally certain that, if known, it ought not to be pronounced aloud, at least, in the hearing of any but the highest professional priesthood, and then only on rare occasions. Their discrimination was meaningless and amusing. Their mistake was an overwhelming one, for the answer to their doubts was that the name of God, being known only to God and expressed in language or other manner unknown to humanity, ought not to be pronounced at all. Men have to decide whether they want a God like the ancient Hebrew Jahweh, a partisan, tribal God, with whom they can talk and argue and from whom they can hide if necessary, or a boundless, eternal, universal, undenominational, and international, Divine Spirit, so vastly removed from the speck called man, that He cannot be known, named, or approached. So soon as man begins to laud his God and endow Him with the most perfect human attributes such as justice, mercy, beneficence, etc., the Divine essence is depreciated and despoiled.

    Albert Pike tells us in Morals and Dogma that the 12 names applied to Supreme Beings of the ancient world were: Adar, Adonai, Aish-Geber, Al, AI-Khi, Aloh, Alohim, Ayew, Gamel, Malek, Yehu, and Yehuah. It is difficult to separate all of these from one another and from similar names in other lists by reason of the different letters used for the same sound and the same letter used for different sounds, for example, Yehuah is undoubtedly the same as Yahweh, and Jahweh, which was long called Jehovah, and spelled by the Hebrews, H V H J (Hebrew sequence) and J H V H (English sequence). Al is probably the same as El; Aloh as Eloah, and Alohim as Elohim. It is asserted that the 10 names of Deity assigned to the Sephiroths of the Kabbalah (Cabala) were Eheyeh, Jah, Jehovah, El, Eloah, Elohim, Jehovah Sabaoth, Elohim Sabaoth (God of Hosts), Elhi, and Adonai. Other ancient names of Deity were: Aum, Dyaus, Assur, Asarac, Eliun, Abaur, Bel, Om, and probably many others, some completely lost. The Sakinah or Shekina of the Hebrews was the Divine Presence, probably not the name of Deity but more on the order of emanations or radiance. 

    The Ineffable Name so often referred to in the Scottish Rite is the Unpronounceable Name; the Omnific Name is the All-Creating Name; and the Tetragrammaton is the four-lettered name or J H V H. Other names are given by some authors but they create confusion, because they may be only different spellings of those above given. The Ineffable Name is not known in Craft Masonry but only in the High Grades (masonicinfo note: what we now refer to as the 'Appendant Bodies of Freemasonry, i.e., not Freemasonry itself but other organizations to which a Mason may belong) and in those relating to the discovery of the Great and Sacred Name, the essential secret of Freemasonry as claimed to have been discovered in the Ninth Arch of the subterranean vaults under the ruins of the First Temple. These are also the Ecossais, Cryptic, Royal Arch, and Arch of Enoch degrees. In the York Rite, they are represented by the Royal Arch and Royal and Select Master degrees, and in the Scottish Rite by the Royal Arch of Solomon and Perfect Elect degrees, the 13th and 14th of that Rite. (See DEGREES III, CRYPTIC; DEGREES V, ECOSSAIS, ROYAL ARCH, ROYAL ARCH OF ENOCH.) The supposition is that the Name of Deity was deemed by the Hebrews too precious to be pronounced by ordinary mortals, lest it be contaminated or corrupted but, in order to prevent its complete loss from non-use, the High Priest was to enter the Sanctum Sanctorum once a year on a solemn occasion and pronounce it in a whisper while the assembled priests outside sounded trumpets and gongs to drown any whisper that might creep out. But evidently the vicissitudes which overtook the Hebrews interrupted the custom, for we are informed that the word was lost, and we know that the Cabalists and other mystical philosophers made much of the theme of the Lost Word, applying many theories, meanings, and consequences to it, many doubtless fanciful. From that point, the ritualists of the Hauts Grades took the theme, arranged for the Name to be preserved beneath the Temple and later brought to light as related in the various classes of degrees above cited. On appear in the American ritual of the Royal Arch degree on the supposition that Jah was the Syriac name of God, Bel (Baal), the Chaldean, and On, the Egyptian. But the last name seems to have been due to a mistake of the ritualist, for it was actually the name of a city, the error having arisen from the Biblical story that Pharaoh gave Joseph, for a wife, Asenath, who was the daughter of Potepherah, priest of On, meaning priest of the city of On, not the god On. J A H (in Hebrew J H) was known as the Two Lettered Name, but is not often found mentioned. Tetragrammaton, means four lettered and refers to the name of the Hebrew Deity, whose name was represented by J H V H and for more than two centuries supposed to represent Jehovah, but by later scholars, deemed to be Jahweh, Yahweh, or Yehuah. (In order to avoid confusion, the English order of letters will be used.) These four letters are YOD HEH VAU HEH and cannot be pronounced without the aid of vowels, which were not available in the Hebrew, their function being supplied by Masoretic points. These, however, were not present in any of the ancient Hebrew scriptures and none of the earlier scholars had ever seen them or heard the four letters pronounced. So, it was said that the name of Deity was lost, and this was so challenging to students of philology and linguistics that, when it became certain that there was no absolute answer to the problem, some treated it as a children's game of charades, working out various combinations, reversing the order of the letters when it served their purpose, resorting to cabalistic and mystical philosophy, and winding up with surprising and unpredictable results, not only as to the pronunciation of the name but as to the Divine Substance. Some actually represented the Sacred Name as a symbol of the phallus of sex worship and God became an hermaphrodite god called HI HO. See Mackey's Masonic Ritualist, 1867, and his Symbolism of Freemasonry, 1869, pp. 61 et seq. of the former and 185 et seq. of the latter.) The first step was to transform J H V H into I H - O H, because it was said that J was pronounced like E and V was pronounced like O. That was untrue, for J and V were consonants and E and O were vowels. Consonants were not pronounced like vowels, that being the basis of the whole problem, the Hebrew Scriptures being written in consonants with no vowel sounds. Even with that false assumption, Mackey having made no progress, said that Cabalists often reversed their words so as to make their language less decipherable and, accordingly, they may have done so with this word. So, he tried it and, instead of IH-OH, he had HO-HI, which he said meant HE-SHE, the male and female principle, the generative energy of creation, the symbols of the phallus and cteis, the lingan and the yoni, which were also represented by the point within the circle and parallel lines, thus, proving the connection between Freemasonry and the ancient mysteries! Pike completely discredited such manipulation, calling the authors of it "obtuse." (Morals and Dogma, p. 765.) Hebrew scholars are of the opinion that the Ineffable Name, J H V H was derived from a root meaning to be, in short, the familiar I am that I am. Mention is also found of a Twelve Letter Name but its nature is entirely unknown. Mackey afterwards disavowed all such ancient paganistic notions of what he called "several German, French, and British scholars," strangely omitting himself as one of the principal disseminators of those ideas. (See Mackey's History of Freemasonry, Vol. I, pp. 185, 197)

Frequently too, Masons are chastised for using the phrase "The Great (or Grand) Architect (or Artificer) of the Universe. The Great Architect of the Universe is exactly what the title expresses. The term was coined by John Calvin (not a Mason), who used it often in his "Institutes of the Christian Religion". It was first used in Freemasonry in 1728 by Rev. James Anderson, a Presbyterian minister and Masonic scholar.


 

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