Book Review  

The Hiram Key  
July 20, 2003
By Rootsie

The Hiram Key: Pharoahs, Freemasons, and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus, by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, was born of the curiosity of these two initiated Freemasons to understand the source and meaning of the baffling rituals of their order.

The result is a book with revolutionary implications for our understanding of the roots of Judaism and Christianity, and it calls into question the validity of the claims these religions make for themselves today.

The authors' researches led them to ancient Egypt. These two are certainly not the first or last to see the source of Judeo/ Christian/ Islamic tradition in the religion of Egypt, but they have unearthed a fascinating story which I summarize here.

Abraham, the recognized father of the tradition, was from the Sumerian city of Ur. The Egytpians referred to the Semitic nomadic tribes which originated from Sumer as the 'Hibaru', from whence 'Hebrew'. Abraham was likely one of these, and like Moses it is said that he saw himself as leading ones to the 'promised land' of Canaan. The Bible says he also went into Egypt.

The dates historians give for Abraham of about 1900-1600BC coincide with the Hyksos takeover of Egypt.of 1786-1567BC.

Though the Bible suggests differently, and understandably so, given its writers' attempt to come up with a cogent history and theology centuries after the fact, it is Moses who introduced YHWH to the wide world, and not Abraham. People in Sumer worshiped their local and even familial deities at this time. The "god of the fathers' is a uniquely Sumerian concept. The 'god of Abraham' was uniquely that, and certainly not the Midianite YHWH.

"...the evidence shows that the Jews are not a race or even a historical nation...they are an amalgam of Semite groups who found commonality in their statelessness and adopted a theological history based on a Sumerian sub-group." (93)
Encrypted in Masonic ritual up to this day is the story of the assassination of Pharoah Seqenenre Tao of Thebes by the then-ruling invader Apophis, in order to wrest the Egyptian secrets of kingly succession from him in the attempt to legitimize his claim as pharoah over Egypt. The Hyksos ('desert kings') ruled Egypt briefly, but they knew that the true power over people's hearts and minds would always remain in Thebes as long as they did not have access to the mysteries, i.e. the death/rebirth ritual which was simultaneously the funeral for the old Pharoah, and the coronation of his successor.
"The king's right to rule was based on the story of the murder of Osiris [son of sky Goddess Nut, both man and god!] by Set and told of how Isis reconstructed Osiris's body and then had a son Horus, by him. Horus went on to take the kingdoms of Egypt back from Set in a mighty battle. Each king thereafter was considered to be an incarnation of Horus, literally a "son of God'. When the king died he merged with Osiris (God the Father) and went to live in the kingdom of the dead and his son became Horus the next mighty god-king."

"...the central crucial process of king-making involved the candidate travelling to the stars to be admitted a member of the society of gods and there to be made the Horus, possibly being crowned by the dead king-the new Osiris. At some point in the events of the night the old king and the new king journied to the constellation of Orion together, one to remain in his celestial home and one to return to rule the land of men." (110)

The ritual is mentioned in the Pyramid Texts which are 4300 years old, but the ritual itself is at least 1000 years older.

The authors realized that modern Masonic ceremonies ape this ritual. Where did they get this information?

1780BC marks the beginning of the Hyksos reign, and a likely timeframe for Abraham's entry into Egypt. Was Abraham one of these Hyksos?

1570BC marks the reign of Hysksos 'Pharoah Apohis, and, interestingly, dovetails nicely with the story of Joseph and his brothers. Remember in Genesis it says Joseph became vizier to the Pharoah-could he have been vizier to this Apophis? Yes, according to dates.

It was also at this time, 1550BC or so, that chronicles begin to tell of 'Habiru' slaves.

Joseph may have been the vizier to the Hyksos pharoah Apophis, and thus likely involved in planning the plot to wrest the secrets of kingly succession from Seqenenre Tao. The thugs who were sent to Thebes clearly botched their mission. The Masonic ritual of the 3rd Degree dramatizes the attempt to extract the secrets, the king's refusal, and the subsequest brutal murder, to which the mummified remains of Tao attest. Genesis 49:6 refers to the murder by Joseph's brothers of a man while trying to wrest secrets from him-did Joseph send his brothers on such a 'suicide mission' for revenge on them? It is told in the Masonic rite that the murderers were caught and killed.

Shortly after the assassination, the Hyksos were defeated, and these may have been the 'Hebrew slaves' of Moses' time-the Egyptians were not in the habit of making slaves, but what to do with the defeated Hyksos who still lived in Egypt? And so now comes Moses.

The story of Sargon I, king of Sumer centuries before Moses, is the obvious source of the 'bullrushes' story, and this indicates attempts by the authors of the Bible to mythologize the story of Moses. So who was he?

Well whoever else he was, Moses was an initiate into Egyptian 'mysteries', and the Bible is clear on this. Of course the true mysteries of kingly succession were lost with the assassination of Seqenenre Tao. Logically, these new 'mysteries' were probably centered around a retelling of the events around the assassination of Tao, as the third degree Masonic rites reflect.

It is important to remember that there was no such thing as a 'Jew' at this point, and none until the Babylonian Captivity. But there were probably a few thousand of these Hibarus/Hyksos, and though they spoke a Semitic language they worshiped Egyptian gods. YHWH also is nowhere in sight-they had not heard of him. He was the local deity of storm and war of Mt. Sinai/Horeb, of the Midians. When Moses was on the run for the murder he committed, the Bible tells us Moses took a Midian wife, and when he led the 'Hebrews' out of Egypt, he went to his father-in-law with them, who told Moses to go up to the mountain to talk to the local god who lived up there. There is only one language the commandments could have been written in, and that is Egyptian.

One of YHWH's first orders was for Moses to slay the 3000 'sinners' whom he found worshiping the golden calf (the Egyptian. Apis).

"Whoever Moses actually was, he became a murderer in Egypt and spent the rest of his life killing huge numbers of people, both strangers and those who had placed their trust in him. We found it difficult to reconcile this man and his view of God with the God of modern Jews and Christians, To us this disparity proves the idea of God is not a static entity but a social focus that grows and evolves as he intertwines with other gods, slowly evolving into an idealised figurehead who reflects the morality and needs of the time. It is not so much that God made man in His image;it is more that man continually recrafts God in his image." (161)
Throughout the Old Testament it is easy to see that YHWH was by no means the only god worshiped. Maybe they called on him in times of war...which were many. Even Solomon turned away...

The secrets brought from Egypt by Moses were transmitted through the Levite priests. The ark of the covenant as it is described is of Egyptian style and ornamentation.

The building of the Temple was an attempt at a literalization of the Egyptian mysteries, 'a reconstruction of the Egyptian concept of political stability through unity.' The two pillars that had at first symbolized the unity of upper and lower Egypt became " Israel (foundation) and Judah (establishment) and when united, stability.

What would a secret 'king-making' ritual do for a stateless, cultureless people? It would give them an identity. The pillars are a symbol of this that passed from Egypt through Moses.

Judaism did not cohere as a faith until the return from the Babylonian captivity. The word 'Jew' itself was coined during this time. Those who returned came back to an Israel that worshiped many gods. They, through their experience in Babylon, saw the strength of a coherent theology on display in Mesopotamia, and set about making one of their own.

"Contrary to popular belief, the Jews of this period were not monotheistic and even if they did hold Yahweh to be the special god of their nation, they would have worshiped Babylonian gods upon enforced arrival in their new home. Then it was quite normal to show respect to the god or gods of an area one visited as a matter of prudence. Yahweh's zone of influence lay in Jerusalem and from all the evidence available it seems that even his strongest supporters never created a shrine to him in the entire period of their captivity.

Whilst most of these Jews got on with life as it came to them, a small numbers of the deportees were philosophical and fundamentalist priests from Solomon's Temple who can only be described as 'inspired people with a thwarted sense of destiny', and they sought to rationalise the situation as best they could. It is now generally excepted that is was here, during the Babylonian captivity, that most of the first five books of the Bible were written down in a passionate search for purpose and heritage. Using information about the beginning of time from their captors the Jews were able to reconstruct the way that God had created the world and mankind, as well as gain details about later events such as the Flood [dated at about 6000 years ago]." (174-75)

What these authors wrote are full of both Sumerian and Egyptian influences: The pillars for example: 'Jacob' comes from the Sumerian word IA-A-GUB, which means 'pillar'. Through Ezekiel, the story of Tao is translated to the time of the building of the Temple of Solomon, and Seqenenre Tao becaomes Hiram in Masonic ritual, said to be the architect of Solomon's Temple. Ezekiel's visions make great sense if they refer to the 'Egyptian-style' secret rituals that the Levite priests performed in the Holy of Holies of the Temple.

One of the first things the returning Jews did was to ban marriage outside the 'race.' They also banned women as priests, and instituted strict dietary laws. And of course, they rebuilt the Temple. It is now 600BC, and perhaps this date can rightly mark the beginning of Judaism as a coherent theology and cultural glue.

The Greek influence around 400BC also swept through the Jewish world. 'Diaspora' Jews established conclaves in many Greek-controlled cities and were seen as betrayers by those who remained at home. The worst thing they did in orthodox eyes was to invent the 'synagogue' (Gr:'bringing together') The ones at home believed God could only be worshiped in His temple in Jerusalem.

"The religion of Yahweh was by now coming to the attention of occultists who were fascinated by the magical properties they saw in it and who took a very different view of its meaning. The numerological seized their attention and even the Hebrew name of God, pronounced Yahweh but written JHVH, took on a special meaning. The Greeks called this name of God the 'Tetragrammaton' and treated the Jewish texts as a source of supposedly ancient, esoteric wisdom. New cults arose in the Hellenistic empire, basing themselves on the scriptures of Yahweh yet not being themselves Jews. These gentiles took what they wanted from Judaism and it was these groups...who were a breeding ground for a later Greek mystery cult called Christianity." (187)
The Jews were only "Jewish' for 600 years before the Romans scattered them. The Roman invasion further refined the tenets of the faith. Is it a principle that outside pressure is what gives rise to a concretized religious system? Is Judaism itself a 'paranoid' response to captivity and invasion? Fundamentalism in the three 'Book' religions is popularly seen as an unfortunate response to the advent of modernity, but what if the truth is that the tendency to literalize spiritual truths and respond to challenge in an embattled and paranoid manner is intrinsic to these religions, and perhaps the most original and aithentic thing about them?

Look at the Old Testament as history-who are these Hebrews? In their own book it says they came into Canaan and did not leave even an animal alive. They were brutal invaders, and they were by no means united by a theology at this point. The whole Old Testament tells again and again of the 'idolatrous' nature of most of the 'children of Israel.'

Once they got to Canaan, they still could not find unity among themselves, and within 200 years split into the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel. The Bible says Israel continued in its pagan ways, while in Judah an attempt was made, by the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, to concretize a national religion. Judaism itself may be seen in light of this story I am telling as the attempt to literalize a necessary inner process, the secrets of which had been lost to them. Look how this plays out in the 'Promised Land' covenant with which Israel seeks to bludgeon the world,even to this very day. And the two religions which use Judaism as their source engage in the same errors, of course. They have become invaders in their own right, in this same attempt to make literal the 'KINGDOM" which is only to be properly understood as an internal spiritual condition. These religions do not have 'fundamentalist' tendencies-they are fundamentalist at their core. And based on a very basic error.

From the time of Abraham, and through most of their history except for that brief time in Canaan as conquerors, the 'Jews' have always been nomadic.

The Qumranians, who lived 'in the wilderness' in the Judaean hills around the time of the birth of Jesus, seem to have constituted a very Orthodox Jewish community with these same Egypt-derived secret teachings at their center. During the time of the Roman occupation, they saw themselves as the only true Jews, rejecting the Pharisees and Saducees of Jerusalem as liars, hypocrites and fools, little better than the collaborator Herods, puppet kings of Israel. And it is two members of this community, Jesus and his brother James, who sought to fulfill the promise of Judaism as the two-fold Messiah (again the two pillars), with Jesus as the worldly Davidic king, and James the foundation pillar, the Levite priest, Was James the 'Jesus Barabbas' whom the Jews spared that day on Calvary? He went on to become the head of the 'Christian' church in Jersalem, until his death by stoning in approximately 67AD. The explosion of civil unrest that his death precipitated led to the Romans' destruction of the Temple and slaughter and scattering of the Jews in 70AD. The authors draw on much evidence, both historical and from existing Masonic ritual, to conclude that scrolls containing the secret teachings which originated in Egypt were buried beneath the Temple, to be unearthed by the Knights Templar 1000 years later. How else could Masonic rituals, which are in effect mystery plays which tell the story of the assassination of Tao, the revised Egyptian king-making ritual, and the discovery of the scrolls beneath the Temple, reflect this history?

The book tells of Paul and the Romanization of the Christian teaching too, the one the Dead Sea Scrolls call 'The Spouting Liar," the implication being that the 'true church' as Jesus and the Qumranians saw it never made it into Roman Christianity. The legitimacy of the Christian church as most understand it today is thus called into question. These authors are certainly not the first or last to do so. Robert Eisenman, a principal Dead Sea Scrolls scholar does a devastating job of this in his book James: The Brother of Jesus.

The Qumranians and their descendents, the gnostics and Nasoreans, were closer to the essence. They rejected the divinity of Jesus, the virgin birth, and the 'resurrection' as a literal event. The Egyptian rite was designed to take the new Pharoah through a spiritual 'death/rebirth' cycle, and there is evidence that this rite was practiced widely in Egypt, and not only among the Pharoahs. The Greek Eleusinian Mysteries may well have the same source in Egypt.

The wilderness dwellers at Qumran clearly possessed some sort of 'secret teaching', the secret history really, of the attempt to highjack Egyptian knowledge and claim it as 'Hebrew'.

The implications of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hamadi discoveries have not been appreciated in their fullness. A good question is why did Egypt's 'two pillars' come to mark a civilization of stability and tolerance while the attempts of their imitators have failed? Clearly, the Hyksos and those who came after never understood the values they saw in Egypt. They thought in terms of crude brute force and dominance through the submission of others. This is the Western history that unfolds as a result of these errors of spiritual understanding. Here is the one-ton gorilla, the origins of the 'New World Order.'


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