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The Hiram Key - Euclid's 47th Problem More Coincidence

by John M Boersma, FFS


In 1979, I was Senior Warden of my Lodge and an eager student of Free Masonry. Brought up as a Catholic I was not well versed in what Freemasonry terms the "Volume of the Sacred Law", since Catholics basically tend to accept 'Faith" without question.' My curiosity peaked when the ritual taught me that - Geometry and Freemasonry were, originally, synonymous terms. In my early Masonic years I thus paused at Ezekiel, Kings, Chronicles and then one day in 1978 I was brows- ing through the Revelations of St John. There was a familiar ring to Chapter IV 1-11 ,which starts: "After this I looked and BEHOLD a Throne was set in Heaven and One sat on the Throne." As I kept reading, it hit me; here was Euclid's 47th problem as proven and etched in stone, by a humble Hindu Mathematician. Underneath it he had chiseled; Behold! Thus was born a Tracing Board - made of almost fifty kinds of inlaid wood- to partially reflect the various creeds, colors and races which makeup our fraternity.

It was my privilege, as W. Master, to present it to my Lodge on behalf of family and friends. This Tracing Board was duly marked: A.M.D.G in deference to my Jesuit Teachers who taught us that all we accomplished would be for naught, un- less it was wrought: Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam A.M.D.G. translated To the Greater Glory of God You and a multitude of Masons have already read two books by Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas entitled: The Hiram Key and The Second Messiah, together with a number of negative reviews - on the former - by distinguished Masonic scholars. On my recent visit to London I learned from one of the Regalia stores near the Temple at Great Queen Street, that word was out from "someone" at the "Temple" - NOT - to have "The Hiram Key" for sale, I did not enquire about "The Second Messiah". It is tempting to make comments pro and con, both as to the written product as well as to the comments of respect- able Masonic Scholars. In this context, I recall recently asking a Worthy Brother who is rather involved in research, for HIS opinion of these two books. In a few well chosen words he left no doubt that he was satisfied that we were dealing with a bunch of liars, just out to make money. I asked him if he-himself had read these books. His answer was a daunting: "Me, reading it? Hey I have no time. . . I rely on the Book Reviews by respectable Masons If THEY say its NO history, If THEY point out LIES, that's good enough for me The statement I make to You, is that -having read these two books - I now know that my interpretation of St John's Revelations Chapter IV 1 - 11 appears far from coincidence.

The 47th problem of Euclid was obviously both veiled and venerated by St John, the Seer of Patmos. The text below is taken from the Apocalypse or Revelations of St John, Chapter 4, vs. 1-11.

"After this I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow 'round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 4. And 'round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thundering and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne; and 'round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7. and the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9. And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever. 10. The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created".

So much for the tracing board. I have always been deeply intrigued with the "why' of the seeming importance of this 47th problem of Euclid. It is visible on the frontispiece of Anderson's Constitution of 5723 - 1723: between two Grand Master; the Duke of Wharton and the Duke of Montagu. It is just underneath a scroll on which is written "constitution" and below the 47th problem is written in Greek - Eureka - I have found it. We note that in many jurisdictions today it also figures in the Past Master's Jewel, moreover in many jurisdictions the three "initial" steps to the altar are marked by nine, twelve and fifteen steps - just divide it by three and figure!

My Question:

Why, Freemasonry's emphasis on the 47th problem, why MARK it on the frontispiece of the 1723 Constitution with "Eureka". What is it that we have found or should we perhaps ask: What is it that we ought to find? The quest for the Holy Grail - or perhaps?) The Truth- is obviously still ongoing and what Man thinks he can find, Man will eventually find! Books such as mentioned in this article accentuate the urgent need for a deeper study of both the Chapter and the Scottish Rite, particularly the latter. I have little doubt that St John's "Revelations" happen to be a part of both the problem and the solution thereof By the way, is it yet another coincidence that this St John - The Divine - is an ancient Patron Saint of Free Masons? I have just returned from a visit to Rosslyn Chapel, where - by coincidence and courtesy of the Supreme Council, 33 Washington D.C. - "The Friends of Rosslyn" did market colored photo- cards of John Melius's famous painting "the laying of the cornerstone of the Capitol" on September 18 1793. As noted on the back of these 7 x 4.75 postcards, the proceeds of L1.00 each, were to accrue to the Rosslyn Chapel Restoration Fund which has a target of L1.5 million. Alas, these cards were not on display, but at my request were dug up from a box behind a curtain and three were given to me, for free. It appears that some tension exists between the "Friends of Rosslyn" and the Owner of Rosslyn Chapel, the Earl of Rosslyn. This visit enabled me to attest to the veracity of the many discernible features alluded to in the Hiram Key. Another publication just. crossed my desk: "Holy Grail across the Atlantic" -The secret history of Canadian Discovery and Exploration. It is written by Michael Bradley and published by Hounslow Press, 2181 Queen Street East Suite 301, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E 1ES. On the back cover is the following statement by: Dr Edward W Hagerman, Associate Professor of History, Atkinson College, York University: "Michael Bradly brings to the study of Canadian History that most valued contribution: a new, and provocative interpreta- tion of facts that cannot easily be dismissed by the academic establishment". A similar statement - (substitute "Ma- sonic" for "Canadian" & "Academic") - could be directed towards the labors of our Brothers Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas and I take this opportunity to heartily congratulate both of them for bringing Masonic researchers the formidable challenge, not of rebut- ting some small pans, but of either accepting or rejecting the main canvas, which appears truly and well fash- ioned. Moreover, in true Masonic style they did not fail to bring "their discovery" to the attention of the World's Council. In the process they shed additional Light on our Order, by engaging in that most distinctive Masonic pre- occupation, "seeking for that which, is lost". You too my brother, we trust, will feel sad for a fellow pilgrim who would rather rely on learned reviews than on reading books for himself I still vividly recall how my old geometry teacher used to admonish me as I struggled with mathematical problems: "Read Boersma" - Read!" Happy research to you my brother - Read -!

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Last modified: March 22, 2014