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The Masonic Magi; Masonry's connection to the Biblical Story

By WB Daniel Genchi

 

The connections between Freemasonry and the Christmas Magi, also known as the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings, are complex and multifaceted. While Freemasonry is a fraternity with a long and rich history that predates the birth of Jesus, it has often incorporated elements of Christianity into its teachings and rituals. The Magi, who are revered in both the Christian and Muslim faiths, are mentioned in the New Testament of the Bible and are believed to have visited Jesus soon after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


One of the main connections between Freemasonry and the Magi is the emphasis on the search for truth and knowledge. In Freemasonry, members are encouraged to seek out truth and understanding through study, contemplation, and self-improvement. This pursuit is often referred to as the "search for light," and is symbolized by the lamp or candle, which is a common theme in Masonic ritual and symbolism. The Magi, who were known for their wisdom and understanding, also represent this pursuit of knowledge, as they followed the star to find the newborn Jesus, whom they believed to be the long-awaited savior and king.


Another connection between Freemasonry and the Magi is the idea of self-improvement and personal growth. Freemasonry encourages its members to strive for excellence in all aspects of life and to be of service to others, which is reflected in the motto "Making Good Men Better." The Magi, who were willing to journey great distances and brave dangers to follow the star and find Jesus, also exemplify this idea of self-improvement and personal growth, as they were willing to seek out new knowledge and understanding, and to make sacrifices for the greater good.


In addition to these themes, there are also several specific references to the Magi in Masonic ritual and symbolism. For example, the three principal officers of a Masonic lodge are often referred to as the "Three Great Lights," which are the Volume of the Sacred Law, the Square, and the Compass. These three symbols are believed to represent the three gifts given by the Magi to Jesus: the Volume of the Sacred Law represents the gift of gold, the Square represents the gift of frankincense, and the Compass represents the gift of myrrh.


Freemasonry also has a degree, or ritual, called the "Royal Arch Degree," which is based on the story of the Magi and the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. In this degree, the candidate is asked to consider the lessons and principles that can be learned from the journey of the Magi, such as the importance of perseverance, courage, and faith.


Furthermore, the Magi are often depicted in Masonic artwork and symbolism, particularly in the form of the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings. These depictions often feature the Magi following the star, presenting their gifts to Jesus, or appearing in the form of statues or sculptures within Masonic temples and lodges.


Overall, the connections between Freemasonry and the Christmas Magi are numerous and diverse, reflecting the enduring influence of these wise and revered figures in both Christian and Masonic teachings. From the emphasis on the search for truth and knowledge, to the themes of self-improvement and personal growth, to the specific references to the Magi in Masonic ritual and symbolism, the Magi continue to be an important and meaningful part of the Masonic tradition.


(Biblical references: Matthew 2:1-12, Matthew 2:13-23)

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