Jah-Bul-On (or Jah-Bel-On):
The god of Freemasonry
About the supposed name of God that is found in the Royal Arch Degree of the York Rite, we find this on page 161 of the ritual published and printed by 'The Grand Chapter Of Tennessee Royal Arch Masons': "In the same manner we find on the three sides of the T on the top of the A the words J - - B - - O - -. Each is the name of Deity: J - - in the Syriac; B - - in the Chaldaic and O - - in the Egyptian languages, and, as has already been explained, when given as one word form the G. R. A. W."
Henry Wilson Coil has this to say: "Jah, Bel and 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." ('Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia', p. 516)
"Jah" is a commonly accepted abbreviation for the Hebrew name of our True and Living God, Lord God Jehovah. Had the Royal Arch degree ritualists been content solely with this name, it would have shown at least an indication that York Rite Masonry is indeed serious about its contention that its focus is on the True and Living God of the Bible. However, with the interjection of the "Lost Word" as being "Jah-Bul-On", York Rite Masonry, in its Royal Arch Degree, is simply re-affirming all of Masonry's polytheistic nature, York Rite Masonry included.
The name, "Baal", is relatively easy to trace. Judges 2:11-13: "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth."
In his commentary on Judges 2:13, Charles C. Ryrie has this to say: "Baal. The rain and fertility god of the Canaanites." In the plural, "Baals may include all the false deities of the land, . ."
Commencing with 1 Kings 18:17, we find the encounter between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, thus establishing a battle between Lord God Jehovah, through His prophet, Elijah, and the false deity, Baal, through its prophets.
In 'Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry', vol. 1, p. 114, Mr. Mackey makes a definite division between "Baal" - which, according to him, means Lord or Master in Hebrew - and Lord God Jehovah: "Whenever the Israelites made one of their almost periodical deflections to idolatry, Baal seems to have been the favorite idol to whose worship they addicted themselves. Hence he became the especial object of denunciation with the prophets. Thus, in First Kings (xviii), we see Elijah showing, by practical demonstration, the difference between Baal and Jehovah.
The idolaters, at his instigation, called on Baal, as their sun-god, to light the sacrificial fire, from morning until noon, because at noon he had acquired his greatest intensity. After noon, no fire having been kindled on the altar, they began to cry aloud, and to cut themselves in token of mortification, because as the sun descended there was no hope of his help. But Elijah, depending on Jehovah, made his sacrifice toward sunset, to show the greatest contrast between Baal and the true God. When the people saw the fire come down and consume the offering, they acknowledged the weakness of their idol, and falling on their faces cried out, 'Jehovah hu hahelohim', meaning 'Jehovah, He is the God'. . .
Hence we see that there was an evident antagonism in the orthodox Hebrew mind between Jehovah and Baal. The latter was, however, worshiped by the Jews whenever they became heterodox, and by all the Oriental or Shemitic nations as a supreme divinity, representing the sun in some of his modifications as the ruler of the day. In Tyre, Baal was the sun, and Ashtaroth, the moon. Baal-peor, the lord of priapism, was the sun represented as the generative principle of nature, and identical with the phallus of other religions. Baal-gad was the lord of the multitude (of stars) that is, the sun as the chief of the heavenly host. In brief, Baal seems to have been wherever his cultus was active, a development of the old sun worship."
One only has to look at Mr. Mackey's honest determination of exactly who Baal is, coupled with what we have been told in Judges 2:11-13, to come to the only sensible conclusion: that any effort to claim Lord God Jehovah and Baal to be one in the same, is blasphemous.
The term, "On", requires a little more research. In Genesis 41:45, we find this: "Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, as his wife. And Joseph went forth over the land of Egypt."
Ryrie's commentary on this verse tells us more about the purpose of this "matrimonial arrangement": "In order to 'Egyptianize' Joseph, Pharaoh gave him an Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife. The meaning of his Egyptian name is uncertain. Asenath means 'she belongs to Neith' (a goddess of the Egyptians). On is the city of Heliopolis, a center for the worship of the sun god, Ra."
The 'Holman Bible Dictionary' additionally tells us: "Potipherah. A priest in the Egyptian city of On (Heliopolis) where the sun god, Re, was worshiped. Joseph married his daughter, Asenath, at the pharaoh's command (Gen. 41:45).
Potipherah and Potiphar are the same in Egyptian, leading some to believe that one name was slightly changed in Hebrew to distinguish between the captain of the guard and the priest." (p. 1125)
And finally, from the Heirloom Masonic Bible, pp 52, 53:
"On - strength; light.
Q. What is the significance of this name in Masonry?
A. This is a significant word in Royal Arch Masonry, and refers to the city of On in Egypt, and indirectly to the sun-god Ra, who represented to the Egyptians much the same conception of Deity as represented by the name Jehovah among the Hebrews. The city of On was the chief seat of the worship of the god Ra; Joseph's wife, Asenath, was the daughter of Poti-Pherah, the chief priest in the Temple of Ra at On."
To determine the significance of the use of the word, "On" in Royal Arch Masonry's "Lost Word", we need to consider the significance of the name itself, that being that On was known for its importance as the location of the temple for the worship of the Egyptian sun god, Ra.
The 'Holman Bible Dictionary' states, "It was the cult center for the worship of the sun-god, Ra (Atum). Although not important politically, the city became a vital religious center very early in Egypt's history." (p. 1050) Additionally, we see, in the Masonic Bible's explanation, the admission that the word does indeed refer to the sun-god, Ra.
In the Indiana 'Mentor's Manual' (p. 49), we are given this explanation of the Masonic term, "Great Architect Of The Universe", said name being established in blue lodge Masonry: "One fundamental of Freemasonry is its non-sectarian character. Any man may offer his devotions to the Deity he reveres, under the Masonic title, no matter what name he may use in his religious worship.
Thus, Great Architect of the Universe is a symbol of Deity as named and worshiped in all religions." Further, the Grand Lodge of Indiana states, in the 'Indiana Monitor', "Monotheism is the sole dogma of Freemasonry. Belief in one God is required of every initiate, ..."
This singular "one God" they refer to, is their own symbol, GAOTU, which amounts to nothing more than a composite "umbrella" type god wherein is presumably found all gods of all mankind, whether True and Living, or manufactured. Thus, the Indiana 'Mentor's Manual' makes this statement, syncretistic in nature: "Before its altar Christian, Jew, Mohammedan, Buddhist, Gentile, Confucian, may kneel together."(p. 17)
To promote such a doctrine, there are only two logical conclusions one can come to. Either, (1) Freemasonry is praying to a symbol (by its own admission), which constitutes idolatry; or (2) Freemasonry's GAOTU is indeed an all-encompassing "god", which constitutes polytheism, thereby delegating its use of the term, "monotheism" as nothing more than cosmetic misrepresentation.
We must also consider the fact that membership in the York Rite, first of all, requires membership in blue lodge Masonry. Quite simply, this is because blue lodge Masonry is the foundation of all Masonry. To suppose that the York Rite would be furthering a deistic concept different from that established in Masonry's foundational Order is ludicrous. In fact, we find this statement on page 7 of 'Freemasonry - a Way of Life', published by the Grand Lodge of Nevada: "All Grand Lodges in the United States recognize each other and two other organizations as Masonic - the York Rite and the Scottish Rite. Both expand and elaborate upon the basic principles and teachings of the Symbolic Lodge."
Coil's contention is that the insertion of the name of a city "seems to have been due to a mistake of the ritualist." While I have certainly found Masonic ritual to be heretical in nature, errors are not as common a trait. If this had been done in error, I am sure the revisionists of the Craft would have changed it long before now.
My own contention is that there is nothing new in York Rite that has not already been established in blue lodge Masonry, pertaining to the "god" of the lodge. York Rite simply carries the degradation of the True and Living God to a lower level, joining Him in a trinitarian fashion with Baal and Ra. I suppose this is the way they ". .elaborate upon the basic principles and teachings of the Symbolic Lodge."
If the York Rite truly is to contend that its teachings are in accordance with God's Written Word, I suggest that they give 1 Kings 18:21 their utmost consideration: "And Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him."
As Ryrie explains it, "Israel's sin was not that of totally rejecting Yahweh, but of seeking to combine His worship with Baal worship."
And God spake all these words, saying, "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME." (Exodus 20:1-3)