The idea of spiritual attainments and the pursuit of knowledge to gain understanding of the sacred mysteries have been the shared subject of much study and conjecture in the Western world, spanning across different religions and spiritual belief systems. Of the many topics that could be discussed, the shared journey of Pharaoh in Ancient Egypt, the Messiah in Judeo-Christianity, and a Master Mason in Freemasonry contain a set of striking parallels. While each of these paths provides its own unique rituals and obstacles, there are two common unifying elements that run consistently through each of these systems: initiation and divine power.
In Ancient Egypt, Pharaoh was the ultimate figure of spiritual authority, deemed divinely chosen by the gods to act as their conduit. After a period of initiation, which typically included memorization of certain sacred texts and promises of loyalty, Pharaoh would be granted access to a plethora of divine powers. These divine powers would enable the Pharaoh to access knowledge about the universe and the realm of the gods. Similarly, in Christianity, the Messiah is characterized as having undergone an initiation in which he has promised loyalty to God, and upon doing so, is given access to divine powers. These divine powers enable the Messiah to access knowledge of the spiritual realm and ultimately provide salvation to the multitudes.
Finally, in Freemasonry, a journeyman Mason undertakes a series of initiations that enable him to “enter the uncharted mysteries of the fraternity” (Gardner, 2014). Upon successful completion of his initiations, the Master Mason is granted access to divine secrets and esoteric knowledge. In each of the aforementioned traditions, initiation and spiritual authority are unifying elements that are necessary for one to access knowledge of the sacred mysteries and gain an understanding of the divine.
The comparison between Pharaoh in Ancient Egypt, the Messiah in Christianity, and a Master Mason in Freemasonry holds many symbolic links that can be drawn upon and discussed in further detail. These links point to a larger spiritual journey that is intertwined with the practices of each tradition. In particular, the idea of initiation and attaining divine power to access knowledge of the mysteries is a unifying element that is present in each system. While each of these paths is unique, the initiation process and the conferring of divine authority are integral steps that each individual takes in becoming spiritually empowered and enlightened. While it is true that the specifics of each tradition hold many differences, it is undeniable that at their core, these traditions share principles and paths that can be universal for any spiritual seeking.
The Pharaoh of Egypt and Gnostics’ image of Jesus Christ have historically been closely intertwined as a result of their common focus on the pursuit of wisdom. This article provides an examination of the parallels between the Pharaoh of Egypt and becoming a Christ in Gnosticism. Scholarly evidence suggests that there are various connections between the ancient Pharaohs and Jesus Christ in Gnosticism, which can be interpreted as similar to spiritual transformation, initiation, and Gnostic teachings about divine knowledge and enlightenment.
The Pharaoh of Egypt was a powerful ruler and the embodiment of a divine principle. Such a position could only be achieved through initiation, much like the opening of the seven seals that were meant to initiate the Gnostics into the knowledge of god’s mysteries. As such, both the Pharaoh and the Gnostics underwent a transformation, a spiritual ascent to a higher level of understanding and knowledge. According to ancient Egyptian lore, the Pharaoh was believed to be the intermediary between gods and human beings, just as Jesus is in Gnosticism.
In addition, Gnosticism encourages the distinguishing of the secret knowledge held by the divine and the lower, profane knowledge accessible to mere mortals. This distinction is echoed in the ancient Egyptian concept of Ma’at, the divine law, which the Pharaoh was tasked with upholding. The Pharaohs had a special, privileged relationship with the gods that only they could access due to their position—similar to the exalted status of Jesus in Gnosticism.
Finally, the Pharaohs of Egypt were responsible for maintaining a balance between chaos and order. The cosmic duality, or ‘as above, so below’, that is so pervasive in Gnosticism was also deeply important to ancient Egyptian culture. As divine rulers, Pharaohs oversaw the spiritual and physical harmony of their kingdom, much as Jesus provides universal balance through his teachings. In both cases, balance was achieved through a synthesis of the lower and higher realms of knowledge.
The Pharaoh of Egypt and the figure of Jesus Christ in Gnosticism have significant parallels that provide insight into the mystery of the divine. The similarities between these two figures highlight the importance of ascension to a higher level of enlightenment and knowledge and emphasize the divine responsibility that is integral in both societies. This article has demonstrated that the Pharaoh of Egypt and becoming a Christ in Gnosticism have more in common than we might think.
The parallels between the King Making Ritual of becoming a Pharaoh of Egypt and becoming a Master Mason in Freemasonry have become increasingly apparent in recent years as various studies and investigations have been conducted. The groundbreaking book ‘The Hiram Key’ by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas has added greatly to this knowledge, and has helped to illuminate the many similarities between the two rites. As the authors state, “… the platform of symbolic rituals used by the Egyptian priesthood to initiate a Pharaoh appears to have been adopted and adapted by the Freemasons when creating the Rite of the Master Mason.”
The authors provide an in-depth look at what the then-current interpretation of the Craft’s ‘Third Degree’ included, and also divulge that a number of the features of this degree bear a striking resemblance to certain aspects of the Egyptian Pharaoh’s coronation ceremony. For example, in both ceremonies the candidate is cloaked in mystery and is initially referred to as a ‘lost-found’ person. In Ancient Egypt, during the coronation of a Pharaoh, the candidate would be initially referred to as a ‘lost-found’ until the ceremony was completed. The same term was employed in Liberty Lodge, a Masonic Lodge in London, England that was active during the late eighteenth century – where the candidate was also referred to as ‘lost-found’.
In addition to this, the authors point out that in both ceremonies the candidate is required to visit a ‘tomb of the Grand Master’. Again in the Egyptian coronation ceremony this was represented by the recitation of the akh texts or ‘Opening of the Mouth’ ritual which emphasised the Pharaoh’s union with Osiris in the afterlife. At Liberty Lodge, the candidate was also required to visit a ‘tomb of the Grand Master’, symbolically representing the union with Hiram Abiff – the symbolic father architect of the First Temple of Jerusalem, and the original Grand Master of Freemasonry.
While it can’t be entirely ruled out that the similarities between the two ceremonies were merely coincidental, it’s fair to say that there are strong indications that the Egyptian King Making Ritual provided the Freemasons with a platform on which to base their own rites. The Hiram Key goes on to explore the roots of Freemasonry’s own ritualistic ceremonies much further and it clearly illustrates how the ancient Pharaohs coronation played an important role in the development of Freemasonry as we know it today.
In Isaiah 19:20, the Jewish prophet Isaiah compares the Pharaoh of Egypt to the Messiah, saying, “It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, He will send them a Savior and Defender, and he will rescue them.”
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of ancient Jewish texts, many of the rabbis and sages of the Second Temple period who were writing and interpreting the scriptures viewed the Pharaoh of Egypt as a type of the messiah.
In the Talmud, the ancient Jewish oral tradition, there is an interpretation of Isaiah’s prophecy about Egypt in which the Pharaoh is seen as a type of the Messiah.
The Jewish thinker Maimonides wrote that the Pharaoh of Egypt was a paradigm of the anticipated messiah.
“And I have heard it said in a certain Memphite tradition that the Shepherd Kings had Pharaohs of their own.” – Josephus, Antiquities of The Jews
The theory that the messiah is a parallel to the pharaoh has been a subject of intense academic debate. This paper will discuss how the messiah and pharaoh both play a role in the ancient concept of kingship and how the portrayal of the messiah in the Bible reflects the unique responsibilities of the Egyptian pharaoh in his culture.
In the ancient Near East, pharaohs were believed to be representative of, and even to serve, a higher power. As the absolute ruler of Egypt, the pharaoh was considered to be a living god on earth. The pharaoh was viewed as a divinely chosen leader who was responsible for the well-being and prosperity of all of Egypt. He was expected to act in the best interests of his people, protect them from attack, and ensure justice and good order within the realm.
The Hebrew Bible also includes a figure who was called the messiah or “anointed one” who was expected to act as a ruler and savior. The messiah was seen as a spiritual leader who would redeem the Jewish people from their sins and lead them to a brighter future. Like the pharaoh, the messiah represented a higher power, and his role was seen as essential for restoring justice and peace among the people.
The similarities between the roles of the pharaoh and the messiah extend beyond the concept of kingship. Both figures were subject to periods of suffering and sacrifice. In Egyptian mythology, the pharaoh had to overcome many trials, including death and resurrection, before he could assume the throne. In the Bible, the messiah’s sufferings serve as a kind of atonement for the sins of the people and a way to bring about redemption.
Furthermore, the pharaoh and the messiah had significant cosmic powers. In Egyptian mythology, the pharaoh was seen as the bridge between the gods and mortals; he alone could access the mysteries of the gods, and his will and authority were believed to represent the gods’ will. In the Bible, the messiah is believed to possess spiritual authority that is higher than any earthly authority. His power is seen in the way he can perform miracles, as well as in his ability to interpret the divine will.
The comparison between the pharaohs and the messiah is a useful one when exploring the concept of kingship and the responsibilities of these powerful figures in the ancient Near East. Both the pharaoh and the messiah have a divine mission to carry out and are held to a high ethical and spiritual standard. They are charged with protecting their people and ensuring their well-being. The similarities between the two figures demonstrate how sacred power was seen in the ancient world as well as how much influence kingship could have in a society.
In conclusion, the portrayal of the messiah in the Bible reveals many parallels to the concept of the pharaoh in ancient Egypt. The messiah, like the pharaoh, is a divinely chosen leader who is responsible for the well-being of his people and is subject to both suffering and sacrifice. The similarities between the pharaoh and the messiah suggest that the two figures shared many of the same responsibilities, powers, and expectations of kingship.
Reference : Gardner, D. (2014). Freemasonry: A journey through ritual and symbol. Richmond, Surrey: Thames and Hudson.
Knight, C. and Lomas, R. (1996). The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Secret Scrolls of Jesus.
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