The Lost Word YHWH and Freemasonry (1912) by ALEXANDER S. Bacon, 32°
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In the beginning God— —
"In the God (in Hebrew. Elohim) created the heaven and the earth." —Gen. i:I.
"And God (Elohim) spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD" (Y H W H). Ex. vi: 2,3
"And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty (El Shaddai) but by my name JEHOVAH (Y H V H) was I not known to them."—Ex. vi: 2. 3.
The Hebrew letters Y H W H (or J H V H) are what are known as the Tetragrammaton. It occurs 5989 times in the Old Testament and is translated LORD (in capitals) in every instance save seven, when it is translated Jehovah.
To this day no orthodox Jew utters the word represented by the Tetragrammaton, Y H W H. He says “Adonai” (Lord) instead.
The Jews held that the very foundation stone of religion was a belief in the true God, the only God, the one, who has no brother, and whose very name must be treated with the most reverential respect. They did not treat their Deity with the profane levity that was common to the heathen, whose gods were legion. and whose attributes were magnified human vices, rather than virtues. In Athens, at one time it is said that there were 30,000 gods, and it was easier to find a god than a man. You will remember that St. Paul found one image at Athens dedicated "to the Unknown God."
The Jews held the name of the One God—the name (Y H W H) given by Himself to them by revelation to Moses—in such reverence that they not only never took it in vain, but they never spoke it at all. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest, after ablutions. went alone into the Holy of Holies and there. while the priests without chanted a hymn, uttered the sacred word. To the masses of the people, it was already "a lost word."
After the capture of Jerusalem by Pompey in the year 63 B. C., the temple ceremonial on the Day of Atonement, was, of course. abandoned, and from the destruction of the city in the year 70 A. D. until the sixteenth century. the Tetragrammaton was absolutely a lost word. Jew and Christian alike held the name of God in such reverence that it was never written—never uttered, even Its pronunciation was lost, and is lost to this day.
Learned men tell us that in all probability it was Yahweh. In the year 1513, the Confessor of Pope Leo X, guessed at certain vowels; put them into the Tetragrammaton (Y H W H or J H V H), and created the new word "Jehovah." The world almost gasped at the presumption of even the great Confessor who had dared to utter a word so holy.
A century goes by, and in the year 1611 the committee selected by King James I of England gave us our present authorized version of the Holy Scriptures; and those learned men, obedient to public sentiment and to centuries of tradition, translated the Tetragrammaton as LORD (in capitals). Only seven times did they use the word Jehovah.
Let us go forward another century, to the year 1717. Four weak masons' trades union in London got together to form a grand lodge. The event was unimportant; no paper announced it: no minutes were kept for six years; and during that time certain learned philosophers, honorary members of the trades union, got control of the Grand Lodge and devoted it to philosophy and the theory of a fraternity that should magnify the essentials of religion and universal brotherhood: the worship of the One God, and teach and practice the Code of Morals set forth in His Holy Book, their only rule and guide in faith and practice.
About the year 1723, the drama of the Third Degree was originated, and those learned and distinguished men to whom we are indebted for “The Tragedy of the Architect,” or the Hiramic Legend, utilized the current tradition of the Tetragrammaton in a way that every Mason will fully appreciate.
You will notice how beautiful is the idea. The True God, without the worship of whom there can be no Judaism, no Christianity, no Masonry, must be treated with unbounded respect, reverence and devotion. He is a spirit representing all wisdom, strength and beauty; so pure and holy that He must not be represented by any idol, or even by any name, written or uttered. Reverence for Deity caused the name to be lost. He is referred to only as Adonai, LORD, and even that name is uttered with deepest reverence.
The God of the Jew was everything in characteristics that the gods of the heathen were not, and Jehovah was treated with a reverence and respect that were never paid to the heathen gods, who were treated with profane and obscene levity. He was so holy that His name must not be taken in vain; must not be spoken or written at all. The nearest approach to it was the Tetragrammaton Y H W H, “The Lost Word."
The true character of God was revealed in the Old Testament, and illustrated and illumined in the New, and in the life of the Peasant of Nazareth, His Divine Son. It will be found, upon reflection, that the troubles of individuals and nations begin when they cease to worship the true God, but worship, in His place, some convenient divinity, earth-made and created to suit some earth-born vice or vanity.
Just now, Europe worships Thor or Mars, the god of force. America is said to worship Mammon, the god of greed. Neither is Jewish; neither is Christian; neither is Masonic. There can be no correct code of morals not founded on a correct religious belief in the true God, and no nation can permanently endure unless it worships the Tetragrammaton. “For the nation and people that will not "serve thee, shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted."— Isaiah Ix: 12.
We might quote further from St. John: “In the beginning was the word (Greek. 'logos') and the word was with God and the Word was God." — John 1:1
But we have carried the argument sufficiently far. Little does the world appreciate what those learned philosophers did for the world in the third decade of the eighteenth century when they rescued Masonry from the political grip of the Duke of Wharton, and prevented it from joining "The Twelve Great Livery Companies" of London, political corporations which now control the city. Masonry was destined to be more than a local political factor. It was to be a world power, emphasizing the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man: a power that is not local to the city of London, but is widely influential for good throughout the world, and as the handmaid of religion, it may yet assist to dedicate the world to a millenium of peace, when the sermon on the mount shall be recognized as good law everywhere, and the whole world be conquered. not by force, as the brutal Roman conquered it, but by love; and all peoples shall sing eternal praises to Y H W H and recognize Jerusalem, the desert created by Titus, as the City of the Great King, the spiritual capital of a regenerated World — Alexander S. Bacon, 32°.
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