What does the Bible say about organizations like the Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star? Are they biblical?
Both the Masons and the Eastern Star are Masonic organizations. The Masons is for men and the Eastern Star is for women.
Origin of the Masons
The Masons used to trace their origin back to Nimrod who appears in the book of Genesis of the Bible. He was the founder of a kingdom which included the city of Babel and the famous Tower of Babel.
Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.” And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. (NASB) Genesis 10:8-10
And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar . . . Therefore its name was called Babel . . . (NASB) Genesis 11:3, 9
The first Grand Master of the Masons was Nimrod.
The central role was . . . [given] to the Tower of Babel. Regius manuscript . . . cites King Nimrod, the builder of the famous tower, as “the first and most excellent master.” He it was, and not King Solomon, who gave the Masons their first “charge”, their rules of conduct and professional code. (Daniel, B. Symbols of Freemasonry. Editions Assouline. 2000, p. 26)
But the Masons adopted a new view of their origin around 1700 because they . . .
. . . were concerned with social respectability and had no desire to threaten the establishment, finally rejected the “Legend of the Craft” which honoured the Tower of Babel, a pagan edifice constructed in open defiance of heaven. (Daniel, B. Symbols of Freemasonry. Editions Assouline. 2000, p. 26)
This comment is important because the Tower of Babel is the origin of false religion. The Tower of Babel was related to the occult. So a reference to the “Legend of the Craft”, if true, would imply the Masons have a background in the occult. Today, occult groups recognize the Masons as being related to them. This is important. The Tower of Babel is where the first false religion started. It is the origin of the Mystery Religions which spread to the surrounding world.
. . . we learn that the founder of Bab-el, or Babel was Nimrod . . . or Nimroud-bar-Cush . . .
. . . the wife of Nimroud-bar-Cush . . . was the infamous Semiramis the First. She is reputed to have been the foundress of the Babylonian mysteries and the first high-priestess of idolatry. Thus Babylon became the fountain head of idolatry, and the mother religion . . . From Babylon this mystery religion spread to all the surrounding nations . . . (D. Pentecost, Things To Come. Zondervan Publishing. 1972, 365-366.)
Therefore if the founder of the Masons is Nimrod, this is not an honor but a great concern to Christians. It is not surprising that some Masons want to trace their origin from King Solomon and not Nimrod. It is not surprising they now claim their origin to have begun with King Solomon.
Is Masonry a Religion?
The Masons would like us to believe that they are not a religion. Their literature claims repeatedly that they are not a religion. But that depends on our definition of religion. Here is a very revealing quote from the Scottish Rite.
The Degrees of the Lodge of Perfection show us that perfection is attainable only when we understand it is our spiritual side that must be in control of our lives. The Degrees of the Chapter of Rose Croix give us the vehicle for transcendence. We select our own ethical system; we are not selected by it. We learn how we are going to choose to live, how we are going to control our life. We lay out the questions which are personally important to us, and we create our own answers. The Degrees of the Council of Kadosh teach us that, since we have to function in the world, how should we do it. We learn how to release ourselves from those concerns which bind us or hold us back from the realization of our own happiness. Then in the Degrees of the Consistory, we receive a cautionary note—we have the understanding, but we must always check ourselves to make sure we’re not doing the right thing for the wrong reasons . . . The Scottish Rite is an enlightened and enlightening experience. It was created and exists for one reason—to do something really profound to the male psyche. Yes, the fellowship of learning and being together as men is good. But we don’t come to the Rite just for the good times in this sense. The quest for meaning, for insight and personal awareness, for spiritual and manly development—that is the quest really worth a man’s time because that is the journey to personal happiness . . .This is the quest today’s men are seeking. We need only to decide how we are going to let them know we are the vehicle for their own personal enlightenment. (Davis,R. G. “The Scottish Rite, An Enlightened Experience?” Scottish Rite Journal. Feb. 1978).
These words sound good, but they are not biblical. Some denominations and pastors have said that it is okay for a Christian to be a Mason, but scripture disagrees. Some would say it is okay because Masonry is only human philosophy, but the Holy Spirit says,
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (NASB) Col. 2:8
The Masonry promises happiness, freedom, transcendence, peace and spiritual fulfillment, but Jesus Christ said,
I am the way, and the truth, and the life . . . (NASB) John 14:6
Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (NASB) John 8:12
Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. (NASB) John 17:17
The Masons view of spiritual transcendence is ancient as well as modern. It is a religious philosophy. The teachings of the Masons have their roots in ancient religion. Here is a quote from the Masons themselves about their own practices and rituals . . .
. . . were practiced from remote ages, in ancient temples of many nations . . . The most learned among Masonic scholars . . . conclude that Masonry is of very ancient origin, and is, in some aspects, the modern successor of . . . the sublime Mysteries of the Temple of Solomon, and of the Temples of India, Chaldea, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as well as the basic doctrine of the Essenes, Gnostics, and other mystic Orders. (Grand Lodge of Texas, Monitor of the Lodge: Monitorial Instructions in the Three Degrees of Symbolic Masonry (Waco, TX: Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F.&M., 1982. p. 8-14).
Masonry is more than just a philosophy of life or a fraternity of gentlemen. It is rooted in Gnostic religion and the ancient mystery religions which claimed to possess secret knowledge.
Masonry claims to not be a religion. Yet, Masons require that their members believe in a Supreme Being. An atheist cannot be a Mason. The Masons believe in “Three Greater Lights.” These greater lights are a sacred book, the square, or the compasses. The First Light is generally the Bible But other sacred books from other religions can be recognized as the First Light too (Daniel, B. Symbols of Freemasonry. Editions Assouline. 2000, p. 40-42). The square and compass symbolize a search for truth. As a Mason moves from one degree to another he is given more light or truth.
When beginning work as an Apprentice, the square is laid on top of the compasses to show that spirit is still dominated by matter. At the second degree, that of fellow, the square and compass are interlaced. There is balance. At the degree of master, the compasses are laid over the square. (Daniel, B. Symbols of Freemasonry. Editions Assouline. 2000, p. 40-42)
The Masons use religious terms: Supreme Being, the Great Architect of the Universe, the temple, Most Worshipful Grand Master, Worshipful Master, St. John’s Day, light, Sacred Law, and enlightenment.
Masonry is a false religion in the view of both the Roman Catholic Church and many Protestant denominations. ” . . . Masonry has been rejected by the Roman Catholic Church, the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church in America, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of the Nazarene, the Church of the Brethren, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Assemblies of God, and the Reformed Presbyterian Church.” (Weldon, J. The Masonic Lodge and The Christian Conscience)