Review of Freemasonry

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by RW Bro Rainer K. Janotta 33°
Past District Deputy Grand Master of the American Canadian Grand Lodge
within the United Grand Lodges of Germany.

INDEX of the Papers

Freemasons are “Builders”.  Firstly builders of themselves. Next, by living up an example and exemplifying standards, builders of a human society built upon values.

One major task is to form oneself, to become a stone fit to be a part of the “Temple of Humanity”.


Introductory Remarks – Freemasonry and Symbols


Freemasonry has three “qualities”:

  • Symbolic Craftsmanship

  • Masonic Science

  • and the Royal Art

As an Entered Apprentice, a young Mason is faced with a number of symbols from the Builder’s Craft, and he ought to learn, that a Mason uses symbols as means of conversation, because a symbol is open to different meanings, and does not necessarily stand for a definite fact alone. Thus, Masons may widen their horizon in sharing each individual understanding thereon in a non-dogmatic and tolerant manner.

This was, in the time of the development of Modern Freemasonry in early 18th century, a revolutionary concept. In a time, when open discussions would subject the participants to persecution and sometimes even threaten their lives, because those days the worldly and religious authorities did not quite appreciate frank discussions.

Freemasonry then, as is today, opened a platform for every member, to share their thoughts and learn from each other by adding to the concepts already given, regardless of social status, rank and nobility.

“Look into yourself” is an important theme the Entered Apprentice faces. This command emblematically represented by the plumbline. He is to listen, to learn and to reflect himself, to find out who he is and to reflect his shortcomings in order to enable him to erect himself uprightly, to improve himself according to his desires and definition of good.


As a Fellow of the Craft, a whole series of new symbols is given him. Not only the stone-builder’s tools, not only the history of Freemasonry, but also all the “Liberal Arts”, that are known to man, e.g. Rhetoric, Geometry, Astronomy, Music and others are for his reflection. This is to teach us, that wherever we happen to stand, all the aspects of human life are given us as means of growth, as ways to learn by discussion, interpretation.

“Look about yourself” as theme is emblematically represented by the level. This instrument emphasizes, that a Fellow of the “Gentle Craft” should always be aware of the fact that man interacts with his fellow creatures. The application and implementation of our ethical skills in our daily life, is the important lesson here learnt. Thus, by living as example of our ideals, a Mason might hopefully positively influence his environment, jobwise as well as in general common human politics, and become a “living stone” in the “building of the Temple of Humanity”.


The Master’s task must be of even higher standards. He ought to be so skilled, that he needs no longer to reflect upon the aforementioned themes, but has so internalized them that he may freely start to build such beautiful artefacts, as we term the “Building of the Temple”.

“Look above yourself”, that command is represented by the Master’s (G.A.o.t.U.) square – find your position within the Creation, reflect upon the Great TracingBoard and think in dimensions of erecting the Temple.


Fig. 1: The Qualities of Freemasonry:


Field of Operation



Entered Apprentice

Symbolic Craftsmanship

Look into yourself !

Symbols as language of tolerant discussion

Fellow of the Craft

Masonic Science

Look about yourself !

Application of knowledge as working tool in life


Royal Art

Look above yourself !

Wisdom for the Building of the Temple


The Building


Freemasons use the symbol of “Building the Temple of Humanity”.

Building in all ages was considered to be a constructive act. Already in earliest days, it was also employed emblematically as expression of creating a spiritual edifice, and served worldly and religious leaders to unify the people and as one method of forming a nation.


To bring some light to this aspect, let us, as an example, quickly have a look into the description in the Holy Writ regarding the operations necessary at the building of King Solomon’s Temple.

How did Israel look like those days?

Using the “scientific” approach, let us have a look into the Israelite society of oldest days. It consisted of a loose conglomerate of 12 tribes, just having settled from nomadic shepherd tribes into farmers (a story being told with Cain and Abel).

These tribes lived in between the huge realms of Egypt, Babylonia, Phoenicia and Persia and were then reigned by King David, followed by his son, King Solomon.

The first stunning fact is, that outside the Holy Scriptures nothing can be found on King Solomon. Modern archaeology could not identify a single piece of documentation mentioning him without the realms of ancient Israel - no scrolls, nothing hewn in stone. Quite amazing for a ruler, who has played such an important role in his nation.

( A few years ago, the yellowpress stated a sensational finding of a stone, engraved in different languages, mentioning the name of Ling Solomon and the Temple. Shortly thereafter another sensational relict was “found”, a stone container keeping the mortal reminders of Jesu’s brother. The whole thing was soon being identified as forged, together with over 200 more sensations. Still, there is nothing outside the Bible mentioning King Solomon and his involvement of the Building of the Temple. )

Judging from the lack of notice without the history writing of Israel itself ,it appears that the tribes of Israel were not even worth being mentioned to their neighbours.. What we know is, that they called the people of these tribes “habiru”, meaning roamers or loafers, from which today’s name “Hebrew” originates.

Of course the Israelites did not quite appreciate this denomination too well and insisted to be named after their founding father „Israel“, which translates as „GOD’s warrior“ thus „Israelites“ is commonly translated as „GOD shall fight (for us) “ or „GOD shall rule“.

In order to form a national identity, the tribes of Israel used a group dynamic process still in use today. They emphasized the differences between the “chosen people” and the “perverts” without, who commited sodomy, worshipped idols and turned away from the “One God”. On the contrary to those unbelievers, Israel had a belief in the “One True God” and wanted to build him a Temple.


The economic impact of the Building of the Temple in the area is described within the Holy Scriptures.

120,000 workers were employed, of which 90,000 Apprentices laboured in the quarries, 30,000 Fellows of the Craft fitted the stones for the builder’s use, presented their work for inspection to the Overseers, Master Overseers took care that the organisation in the building ground went smoothly and the designs were executed properly, Architects designed in accordance with statics, material properties and the religious demands, in addition transport workers and freight experts, bakers, butchers, caterers, school teachers for the worker’s families and many more had to be actively involved to make the undertaking a success. A whole nation needed to employed for such a building site.

In (2. Chronicles Chapter 2) and (2. Samuel 5, 11) we read that King Solomon formally called for assistance from his neighbour, Hiram King of Tyre in asking for material and workers.

Tyre was one of the major harbours in the Mediterranean and the most important trading nation those days. Hiram King of Tyre assisted with his fleet to transport woods from Lebanon. Gold for the adornment was brought from the famous gold land “Ophir” (in today’s area of Abessinia) and from Saba (in the area of today’s Jemen and Ethiopia).

( We read that Hiram, King of Tyre was a son of a widow of the tribe Naphtali, and his father had been a Tyrean blacksmith. The king sent the best design drawers, architects and master builders. One of which was a master called Hiram-Abi, said to have been the son of a woman of the tribe Dan, whose father was Tyrean.  )

Considering the well governed nations around with high amount of a highly developed bureaucracy, it seems to be quite amazing, that with the amount of material being mentioned in the Bible, not a single trace is left for our inspection in any documentation of these realms which does plentily exist. That leads scientists to the conclusion that the size of the temple can not be too impressive.

The unifying character of such an undertaking is self-evident and was often practiced before and afterwards. This could be a reason to adopt it as example.

But this was not the first time in history, such a task was done to form and unify a nation. The Temple of King Solomon was build around 988 b.C., the Babylonians had build their “Zikkurates” about 2,000 years earlier, and the Egyptians had build Pyramids, which were much bigger in size.


King Solmon’s Temple


The size and glory of King Solomon’s Temple. though being described in the Holy Scriptures as being enormous, can by no means compare to the Egyptian Pyramids, Babylonian cities, Phoenician fortifications or Persian palaces. When size matters, it is not a key argument to adopt the Temple as a key symbol to Freemasonry.

How then about the beauty of the Temple? Would that lead us any further in our question of the import to us Masons? At former excavations, there were not found too many ritual vessels on the Temple Mountain. Some might have been carried away by the Romans. And the political situation in the Holy Land at present does not allow any further excavations. Despite of the the fact of little archeological findings, I am of the belief that the beauty must be found rather the ritual meaning, and not the fiscal importance of ornamentation.

What makes King Solomon’s Building of the Temple so different from the former large buildings of Babylonia and Egypt? Following the chrononogy of large buildings in history, we come from the Babylonian “Zikkurat” and the Egyptian Pyramides to the Salomonic Temple.


1) The Zikkurates of the Babylonians, in Old Testament named as „Tower of Babylon“, were buildings where man wanted to adore himself, trying thereby to make himself “even to GOD”. In the eyes of the  Jewish this is considered to be blasphemy.


2) The Pyramids were, and still are, the ultimate „super-buildings“. For sure they were an instrument to form and unify a nation. (As an interesting side-note of history, they were not even mentioned within the Holy Bible.) They served as glorification of the Pharaoh who was considered to be man and God the same time, and they were the means by which man believed to work on his own immortality.

As indicated above, all the neighbouring nations of Israel were looked down upon, as means of group dynamics. Amongst all those nations, Egypt was somewhat exempt from the bad-speaking – possibly due to the close connection of Moses with the house of the Pharaoh where he was risen.

Having been such close to the Pharaoh himself, Moses necessarily must have been somewhat involved with the building of some pyramid. Such pyramid was, in comparison with the Babylonian buildings, not to indicate that man deemed himself higher than the gods, but still as adoration of the Pharaoh, the God-King. Mose’s participation at such an undertaking must have been considered by the Jewish as blasphemic also. Maybe that is, why Egypt and his pyramids are “discretely left out” in the telling of history within the Holy Bible, and this might also be a reason for the descritiion of this period as “Egyptian Slavery” as a means of inner distancing from those.


3) Now, after the building of the „Tower of Babylon“ where man wanted to elevate himself above God, and after the building of the pyramids, where man adored Pharaoh as one God-King and wanted to bild on his own immortality, finally King Solomon began his Building of the Temple.


The “Lost Word”


Kind Solomon’s Temple is again a great work which could serve to unify a nation. But it is also an expression of Solomon’s famous wisdom - it is a religious statement. For the first time ever, this large edifice is not a work, where man glorifies himself. Nor being created to elevate one man to the status of God-King. The building of this Temple unifies the forces and powers of a whole nation solely for the reason to “glorify “the One and Only True and Living GOD. That is the core statement of the Jewish Nation: The Temple is supposed to be an offer to HIM to take his house in the midst of his people. That is, what makes this building so different from all the others before.

The plan to build a house fort he LORD was already made by his father, Kind David. But David believed that his hands were too bloodstained. Therefore he considered himself unworthy to build such house for the Lord. In dying, he begged his son Solomon, whom he considered to be innocent, to commence such Great Work.

The Temple is said to be a representation of the Tabernacle, which commemorates the covenant of the LORD with his people given to Moses at the burning bush when leading the “children of Israel” from captivity, and wherein Israel offered a place for the LORD to live in, in the midst of his people.

Moses is the “father” of the Nation of Israel. Undoubted by any historian, he was accepted as the historian author of the Pentateuch (the 5 Books of Moses). In the Jewish narration of his birth, his name is explained with the Hebrew word mšh, „draw“, and shall remind us to the story where his step-mother has „drawn him out of the waters“, where, according to the Old Testament, he was put in into a weed basket into the Nile river. Pharaoh’s daughter pulled him out and raised him. Later he became an important officer at Pharaoh’s court, and still later he lead the “Children of Israel” out of the “Egyptian Slavery”.

Today’s scientists rather believe that Moses’ name comes from the Egyptian word mśj, „to be born / to give life“. And as such it would be in concordance with such Egyptian names as usually found as compound with a god’s name, as i.e. Rá-mś-św (Ramses) „Ra gave him life “ and Dḥwtj- mś-św (Thutmoses) „Thot gave him life“. Many such names are found in Egyptian inscriptions and were also often wrtiien without the name of the demominating god (Mś-św / Mś).

Moses ist he one to whom the LORD spoke in the burning bush and said: “I am the Only God“. He also told him HIS name: אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶר אֶהְיֶה - ’ähi’jäh ’asher ’ähi’jäh - „I AM THAT I AM “– often written down in form of the Tetragrammaton יהוה - „JOD-HEH WAV-HEH“.

The LORD also stated that he is a “jealous GOD”, and commanded in the First Commandment: „Thou shalt not have other gods besides me “.

Moses taught his people that man shall not speak out the „Name of GOD“, that the name of GOD is unspeakable, because man can not comprehend GOD. In consequence, Moses himself can hardly have GOD’s name as part of his own name. He can not be some „Jah - Mś-św“ (GOD gave him life“), he can actually just be a „...-Mś-św“, which is („...“gave him life).


Fig. 2:  The Name of Moses:









Ra gave him life “


Dḥwtj- mś-św

Thot gave him life“


__Mś-św / Mś

__ gave him life“


Fig. 3: The Name of GOD:




אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶר אֶהְיֶה

’ähi’jäh ’asher ’ähi’jäh




The Tetragrammaton



Our “Temple”


Originating historically in the medieval European Builder’s Guilds in the gothic period, one might actually wonder why Freemasons use the term of building a “Temple”, rather than building a “Cathedral” or a “Dome”.

Why do we use this symbol? And where does “King Solomon” come into play? Just stating that this king was the patron of the builders would not be satisfactory. What is so important of his undertaking? Presuming that it has to do with his “wisdom”, what kind of wisdom was it, that makes it so important to us?

Freemasonry carries the answer to this question within it’s own Order – it is the knowledge of the “lost word”, which gives us the key. It is it’s meaning that elaborates the Temple.

The Ancients worshipped various gods of nature, when they believed to observe miracles and wonders (e.g. thunder, lightning etc.).

At the burning bush, it is fort he first time, that man (here Moses) is allowed to speak to “Jahwe “ The first Letter of the Tetragrammaton: “JAH” denotes “I” or “It is I”. The following syllables of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, “HWH” complete the name of GOD.

But the “I AM THAT I AM” it is not to be meant as just a simple “Here I am“, implementing a “do not ask any further and keep your distance”. It is rather a J A H W E : I am the „I AM HERE“ for you.

Such familiar contact with GOD is still today with the Jewish practice.

Salomon’s Temple is a manifest of such knowledge. This statement binds King Solomon and his Building of the Temple with the operative and speculative Masons of the medieval Cathedrals.


This „I AM HERE for you is also the central statement of the Rabbi named Jesus, the son of Joseph, who always pointed out that man should turn himself to GOD and obstain from self-adoration and idolatry. Man should be kind to man and love his neighbour, consider all mankind as one family, all being GOD’s children.

Thus, the “Building of the Temple” becomes a symbol for the belief that all men can consider themselves to be one unity. The stones for such building are the people. That “ Building of the New Temple” is far more than just a moral or ethical exemplification of history. It is the central element of our whole “”Western Culture”.

Here is to be found the key for the importance of exactly this Temple to Freemasonry.


The early operative stonemasons of the „Compagnonnage des Fils du Roi Solomon“, the „Brotherhood of Fellows of the Sons of Solomon“,under the patronage of the Order of the Temple, were one of the first groups of cathedral builders. By emulating this “speculative” building into “operative” craftsmanship, by building cathedrals for the glorification of the LORD, they pointed out this concept, putting into stone the motto of the Templar’s Order: „Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomine tuo da gloriam“ – „Not unto us, o LORD, not unto us, but unto THY name give glory“.

Let us therefore all be living stones in the building of the Great Temple !

Let us form ourselves, upright and in accordance with the plumbline, let us remember that we are on the same level with all mankind, and let us be tried by the Master’s square !

Let our light so shine before us, that men may see the good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven !

Let there be light !

2009 - Masonic Qualifications of The Author

Rainer K. Janotta received the Light in March 1991 in his Mother Lodge “Licht am Stein” # 629 (“Große Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland – Freimaurerorden” which operates in the Swedish Rite System within the “United Grand Lodges of Germany – Brotherhood of Freemasons”)

Having lived and laboured in the USA for 1 ½ years, he was granted permission to affiliate with “Copper Country” Lodge # 135 in the GL of Michigan, where he joined the Scottish Rite in Marquette, MI (Northern Jur.) and the Shrine in 1994.

Returned back to Germany, and after the German Wall came down, he was one of the re-founding members of “Harraseiche” Lodge # 705 in Chemnitz in the formerly Eastern Germany, holds District Grand Rank since 1996 within the “Große Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland – Freimaurerorden”, and served for six years as Presiding Master of the Scottish St. Andrew’s Lodge “Lux et veritas” (Große Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland).

He affiliated with “Solomon” Lodge # 822 in 1996, served there as Master in 2001-2002, and was District Deputy Grand Master of the Masonic District # 2 of the American Canadian Grand Lodge within the United Grand Lodges of Germany in 2005-2006.

Having served actively in all chairs of the American Military Scottish Rite Bodies, Orient of NATO Bodies (Southern Jur.), he received his 33° in 2003.

Until 2008, he served many years as Grand Officer in the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Germany and the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Germany received KYCH in 2003, and is a Past Grand King and Past Illustrious Deputy Grand Master, as well as Past President of the Order of Anointed High Priesthood and of the Order of the Silver Trowel.

He is a past Souvereign of the “Pilgrim” Conclave # (Order of the Red Cross of Constantine), was in 2000–2001 Second Vice President of the European Shrine Club, four times Past Commander of “Heidelberg” Commandery # 2 (Grand Encampment of the United States of America), Past President of the “Order of Anointed High Priests of Germany” and the “Order of the Silver Trowel of Germany”, holds District Grand Rank in the “Grand Chapter of British Mark Master Masons of Germany”, is Past Commander of “Keys of Münster” RAM # 1515 within the Grand Chapter of British Royal Ark Mariners of Germany, HRAKTP (since 1999), Ambassador at Large by appointment of the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees“, USA and since 2001 Supremus Magus IX° within the „Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis“.

His motto is “spread light by light”, he prefers to be addressed as “Brother Rainer”.

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